Huffington Post launches new iPad app, joins the grid

Mashable

If 2010 was the year of the tablet, apparently 2011 will be the year of the grid.

The Huffington Post on Tuesday rolled out an updated iPad app, which has a grid layout that follows a trend seen in earlier offerings from NPR, Flipboard and CNN, to name a few.

Called the “HuffPost NewsGlide Beta,” the new app’s home screen consists of a left-hand navigation sidebar and four rows of scrolling photos with headlines. The app is a significant change from the company’s original offering, which more closely resembled huffingtonpost.com.

The grid format brings a variety of design and usability advantages to the touch-screen interface:

  • It provides clear interaction cues — swipe left/right or up/down.
  • The image-driven navigation elements are reader-friendly and “touchable,” as CNN discovered.
  • The grid consists of modular boxes that eliminate many Web-like design challenges.
  • Because the individual rows can scroll indefinitely, it is possible — but maybe not recommended — to promote an unlimited amount of content.

Another advantage the grid has over more traditional Web or magazine-inspired app designs is that it feels like a tablet-native creation. That distinction creates a visual novelty that encourages engagement, and it also provides a fresh platform for internal innovation.

Mashable writes that The Huffington Post expects its app to be a leading indicator for future desktop Web design projects:

” ‘All website design is informed by tablet design now,’ [Paul Berry, Huffington Post CTO] observes, citing the new Twitter as a landmark example of what Mashable’s Christina Warren has dubbed the ‘iPadification of the Web.’

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