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Reaching the connoisseur

Every journey finds its inspiration into something you want to discover. Our journey was inspired by the maiden field called HTML5 which gave us rise to discover its richness.

That’s why we’ve decided to explore its newness and improve it with a mobile web application for everyone to use it anywhere and anytime. And while reading and bookmarking Journalism.co.uk for a long time we’ve reached out to John Thompson, the owner of the publication, boiling him down with our proposal of making this mobile web app for his news site.

On the back of that, in that moment he was also on a journey, a motivating one for media and journalists: a solo, unsupported cycle ride of more than 850 miles started on 8 June 2012, called Brighton-Oslo cycle for Journalists' Charity.

 

It all started from sketches

As simple as a pencil on paper, that’s the way we’ve begun to delineate the shape of that ought-to-be a successful mobile web application. And literally, like every journalist who begins his work with the pencil and the sheet, we’ve also used these two instruments, leaving behind the technology, to practically design mobile and tablet user interface on paper.

And we’ve made some sketches, the result of our vision and imagination, but not before going through the crossing out, the blotting out and the shooting hoops at the trash can processes.   
 

Why HTML5?

We’ve recently stumbled upon an interesting blog post by Fred Wilson (VC at Union Square Ventures) where he’s basically looking for the collective wisdom of his community to see if this would be a good moment to bet his money on the mobile web hence HTML5.

Not surprisingly at all, the debate native vs. web exploded once more but what’s interesting is that one consensus seemed to have breached the conversation: mobile web is great for reading and it might just be the obvious investment that one should make to help jump start the mobile web glory.

It certainly came as a confirmation for Financial Times who in 2011 bet their money on HTML5 by being the first to launch a mobile application that could run within a browser, enabling their readers to immediately access it without having to go through an App Store to download & install it. Just 10 months after launch, the Financial Times’ Web App has surpassed two million users.

That being said, it became obvious to us that an open web initiative that could offer small and medium publishers a viable alternative to the closed environment of the native apps would represent a turning point in the publishing industry. By leveraging the HTML5 technology, we developed an online platform that helps publishers to better reach their mobile readers by creating, distributing and monetizing mobile HTML5 applications.

And we’ve done this for Journalism.co.uk by taking advantage of their already existing web presence: using RSS/Atom feeds we’ve synchronized their site’s content with the mobile web app itself, offering their readers a rich reading experience on mobile & tablet devices. Have a look at the results here: http://app.journalism.co.uk


Open-web vs. apps

This revolution for WWW is full of advantages for both publishers and users alike. Explaining it shortly, we’ll develop, navigate and use apps without worrying about approval processes, censure, or being filtered. In one word,  we will enjoy the freedom in its many ways- writing, exposing our opinion, being able to promote something through the social networking services by losing the “I can't link to it, so I can't tweet it, I can't discuss it, I can't like it, I can't hate it." Why is our mobile app useful in this case?

Well, it’s simple: the publisher has now the freedom of speech and you or any other user can read his work without being forced to go through an app store, download and install an app. A mobile web app offers advantages from both worlds: it is still an app with the same experience and awesome interface as a native one, but its distribution model is much more simple and direct. 
 

Appticles - the old/new(s) fusion

Let’s imagine you have a newspaper in one hand and your mobile device in the other. Wouldn’t it be perfect for those two items to combine? We asked ourselves that same question and thus created appticles – a platform where any given article exists not only on paper, but also in a web application.

Talking of, being careless about the news is like having a Smartphone and using it just for receiving calls or for playing Angry Birds. This is the reason why this old/new(s) fusion makes total sense for us. And we’ve thought an umbrella term like “appticle” will make our platform and HTML5 applications easier to remember for everybody. If we’ve made you curious, you’re invited to check this out here.
 

And here comes the reward

It’s funny how the “having faith and confidence in you own idea” fact turned out to be true. Without pushing our lucky charm we carried the garland, gratefully and humbly. Our work was appreciated and The FWA gave our golden child the “Mobile of the Day” award. If there’s something to be proud of, we must admit this reward is a boast of confidence and a team-glory for Webcrumbz.

 

Our thanks go to John Thompson and Sarah Marshall from Journalism.co.uk for being so open towards experimenting innovative approaches in the mobile space, as every publisher should be and to The FWA for the glorious prize and for hosting our work on the site.


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