27. May 2014–
The app developed by Axel Springer IDEAS, the Idea- and Research Lab of Axel Springer SE, differs in may ways from its competitors.
Instead of publishing the content from WELT’s online and offline publication, KOMPAKT is based on so-called "Story Cards" that were specially designed for smartphone usage. These Story Cards can be text, photographs, graphics, video or social media content.
Opening the app, the user sees a tutorial when swiping down. Swiping to the side, the content starts. Flipping through this beautifully designed app, it reminds the user a little bit of Facebook Paper.
In the welcome note, it says right away that this version is a test. In startup words, a MVP. The app is colorful, young, and easy. The copywriter seems to have focussed on a target group that likes to be entertained and addresses their sense of humor when, e.g. new content is loading, displaying the text: “We’re loading data (from space)”.
The app is, as of right now, only available on iTunes and not in the Google Play Store (or other platforms), which is very common for MVPs.
News is easy to read, as the writing comes in bigger font sizes than what users are already used to. The news is cut down to only a few paragraphs and shortened to only the most important facts.
Integration of social media into the new app was also creative. German Twitter user @tiny_tales who is known in the German Twittersphere for his 140-character short stories was featured.
Ulrich Machold from Axel Springer IDEAS states: “With KOMPAKT, we want to try out what content can look like when it is specifically made for smartphones. And we don’t want to launch a ‘complete’ product. Instead, we want to improve it in collaboration with our users. Depending on the success, we’ll use our learnings for future products.”
With publishing houses having trouble keeping up with the digital era, this is not the final solution to the problem but a step in the right direction. Understanding media also means understanding how much information users can read and process. For short bits of information, as we have seen from Twitter already, the app's format seems appropriate.
Sure enough, even small features are still missing. Right now users can only share content through Facebook. Depending on the success of the app, Twitter and other social networks will hopefully come soon. Also, in some cases, the sliding process seems buggy, however, this is normal keeping in mind it is a MVP. Updates along with a viable business model are probably to follow.
Congratulations, WELT. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction for your next 10 years.