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