Star-Telegram to revamp mobile website, apps next month

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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witt If you access the Star-Telegram on any of our digital platforms, be sure to mark November on your calendar, because we plan to launch new iPhone and Android apps as well as a new mobile website sometime next month.

Not only are we updating the look and feel of these products, but we are also enhancing the feature set. As part of this new version, we are adding:

• Video and photos to articles.

•  A photo galleries section.

•  Article commenting.

In addition, these new apps will retain many of the previous versions’ most popular features, such as in-depth coverage of local news, weather and sports, push notifications, article bookmarking and sharing.

Soon, we will follow with a similar redesign of our iPad editions that will heighten the interactivity of your local news experience with more video, photos and graphics.

We are also experimenting with tablet-only content that we will be introducing throughout 2014.

This is another exciting step forward in our effort to continue to deliver Star-Telegram news and information to you. I encourage your feedback to me at jwitt@star-telegram.com or @jimelvis on Twitter about these products as we continue to improve them to serve your local news and information needs.

Of course, some of you may have noticed that we had a problem that began last week with our iPhone apps. If you upgraded your phone to iOS 7.0.3 when Apple released it, your app would either lock up or crash when you hit the splash screen.

This happened because Apple removed a font — HelveticaNeue-Italic — that our software vendor, Verve, used in the summaries layout for the iPhone app.

Since Verve did not have a backup font or system in place, it had to resubmit an update for Apple to review, and that process can take several days.

About 14 percent of our user base has already upgraded to iOS 7.0.3, so we hope the problem will be resolved shortly — perhaps even by the time you are reading this.

We’ve also had some ongoing problems with the e-edition for the iPad that we’re in the process of clearing up with Olive, our vendor.

We had a problem with the app loading Sunday, and in the past few weeks you may have noticed that sometimes when you touched on an article it didn’t automatically pop out and enlarge so you could read it better.

You could pinch your fingers and enlarge it manually or click on it to read as straight text, but I like to just tap on it, so as a reader I was a little frustrated.

Those problems should be fixed via an app update released Monday.

Although I look at our print edition every day, I prefer to read the Star-Telegram on my iPad because it gives me access to videos and more of our photos. I can easily email an article I like to friends or, soon, add my comment to a discussion.

Our aim is to deliver local news and advertising information to you any time and any way you want it, in print or via one of our digital platforms.

In addition to the Star-Telegram, we own several free weekly papers that serve communities throughout our circulation area, as well as a luxury magazine called Indulge, a monthly sports publication called DFW OT (free in print and on the iPad) and a free Spanish-language weekly, En Casa.

Our digital platforms include our main star-telegram.com site and our dfw.com entertainment website, as well as niche sites such as dfwvarsity.com for high school sports and mom2momdfw.com for mothers.

And, of course, the mobile sites and apps I mentioned earlier for either your phone or tablet.

It costs only $1.99 to $2.99 a month to add access to all our digital platforms to your print subscription, depending on which subscription option you choose. Digital-only is $6.95 a month.

If you live in Tarrant County or one of the adjoining counties we serve — Wise, Parker, Johnson or Denton, we have something you’ll like. Go to star-telegram.com to sign up or call 1-800-776-7827.

Jim Witt is executive editor of the Star-Telegram. 817-390-7704 Twitter: @jimelvis

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