For GigaOM, a Fresh Coat of Paint

23 Comments

Mobile changes everything. Just as it did for Pandora and Open Table, it’s changing us, too. About three months ago, we launched our new iPhone & iPod Touch app, which has been download by thousands of our readers. I wrote at the time,

The app…essentially offers a unified experience of all our various properties — from our blogs to our paid subscription service to our events to our real-time Twitter feed. One brand, one app!

Little did we know how that app would change everything. It brought home a series of lessons about how people view and interact with our content. One of the biggest lessons of the iPhone app was the extremely high amount of time users spent per session, thanks to us unifying the content from all our sister sites into a single stream. It made us realize one basic fact: the readers appreciated the diversity, depth and deftness of our content, regardless of which network blog it came from. On an average, those who use our iPhone app spend over 15 minutes per session, with a couple of sessions daily. And that is with all the notifications turned off.

That data (along with other metrics) prompted us to rethink the branding and overall design of the network of sites. As a result, we’ve made some changes, with a small revision to the design we first launched in November 2009.

For instance, we’ve redesigned the navigation across our network of sites to make it consistent. It helps us introduce you to the other writers we work with, and expose you to stories from across the network of sites, giving us a chance to have meaningful discussions more often. 

Of course, many of the industries we obsess about– online video, mobile devices, collaboration, cloud computing and clean technologies among many others — are converging and are influencing the outcomes of others. Mobile devices redefine the meaning of collaboration, just as data centers for cloud computing drive up need for power, including clean power.

So what we’ve done is build a back-end system to showcase content from across the network, each one picking out the pieces that meet the needs of their unique set of readers. Our objective is to give you a more-frequently updated, more in-depth, 360-degree view of the technology business we so obviously love.

Obviously these are not the only changes; our app and evolution of mobile continues to teach us new lessons. We’re working on developing an HTML5 version of the site optimized for the iPad and Android-based touch-devices. With these new devices will come new lessons!

23 Comments

Om Malik

David

I am sorry for being thick, but I don’t quite understand your comment. Can you elaborate or drop me a note?

Brian S Hall

The smartphone is the computer!
Smart move — and, congratulations.

And now, a complaint…

It seems no matter how often I push that little update/refresh icon on my GigaOm iPhone app, I never truly get the most updated content (compared to the terrestrially-bound website). Make it so.

Thank you.

Disappointed

Oh, okay. The post made it sound like the solution for Android was going to be a mobile version of HTML5. If it is being worked on then I retract my “disappointed”.

Mason

If you can improve on for your 2.0 version, here is my feedback for the design. The iPhone app is quite heavy. It takes the longest time to load and update vis.a.vis other news/magazine apps. I am using Engadget, USAToday, Time, NYTimes etc. as benchmarks. The only one which is heavier than yours is the BBC News Reader. Cut out the background graphics. Most pictures don’t even relate to the content. See if you can work on a menu based for easier navigation (check out the above apps). Finally a little more testing will help. I have seen app crashes while updating.

Om Malik

Mason

Most of those issues you have brought up have been addressed and you are going to find a more stable, faster experience on the new version of the app.

gigaburke

Hi Mason. This is Dan from the GigaOM tech team. This is exactly what happens when you load the existing iPhone app with the new 4.0 OS installed (on a G3, G3s and 4). The new 4.0 version of our app is coming out next week. This will clean up all these problems. Stay tune for that, and please feel free to drop me a note if you have any other ideas or concerns.

Luis

Hi Mason, just adding that the Pro section on the app never loads. Hopefully you can fix that as well.

Peter

Your site design is very visually pleasing and easy to navigate. Your content is first rate and informative. However, did you know there is another world out there beyond Apple? Can you guys please acknowledge a world exists beyond the limitations of your god and messiah Steve Jobs? Thank you.

eideard

Looking forward to the iPad app. Though, I may never again wander outdoors to mow the weeds we entertain as “lawn”…with further useful distraction.

Scott

The iPhone app is great – in fact, I do virtually all my gigaOm reading on it (but, now that i have iphone4, I’d like to be able to zoom in/out on the text, and the app needs to be updated for iOS4 to return to previous state).

Previously, I only read gigaOm articles when someone posted a link that looked interesting – but I now find it my favorite “pass time” reading on the iPhone while waiting in lines (and there is so much waiting in line these days). Generally better reads than what I’m finding from newspaper apps, and more topical (for me). The design, especially first time I opened it, felt very fresh.

Congrats,
Scott

Om Malik

Scott

We are waiting for Apple to launch our iPhone OS 4 version of the app — it took some time to get it right.

I am glad you liked our little app: we are constantly tinkering with it and improving it.

Arkid Mitra

I love your content, love the website(design) and the iphone App. Just if the content was a little less biased towards Apple.

Paul

Congratulations to the team.

I would be interested in reading about how you approached the design change, which changes seemed obvious or safe, and which seemed risky, and how visitor behavior has changed as a result. Did the project meet budget/time expectations? Are you already scheduling the next re-design?

I come here every day, so it would be interesting to see under the hood a bit.

Andrew MacDonald

I would also love to hear exactly what Paul has described in his comment. It would be a fascinating look at how you approach design, the processes and the apps etc that run your sites.

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