February 23, 2021 | Lucy Penn
As those of you on the roundtable calls will know, we were planning to put out release 1.1 in early February and then a dot release at the end of the month. In the end it didn’t seem worthwhile doing this due to the short period between releases so we bundled the two together as a single release at the end of February.
We also took the opportunity to update the release number so that it is now inline with our internal release number of 1.4.
Accessibility support through compliance with WCAG 2.1
We have updated the code in both the apps and the PWA browser product so that it is compatible with screen readers and compliant with WCAG 2.1 for accessibility.
Kindle Fire support
The Android version of the app can now be released to Kindle Fire users through the Amazon App store, so if you have an old Kindle Fire app we can update that to the latest version, or if you’ve not previously had an app in the Amazon App store you can now expand your audience by offering a Kindle Fire version.
Text to speech for the article view
Every article will now be able to have an audio version through text to speech. In the apps this uses the text to speech feature on the device so the user is able to select different voices for each language and control the reading speed.
Users can download the audio files to the My Content area of the app and this will create a playlist of articles which can then be played in sequence.
Image gallery support in the article view
If you send multiple images within an article as part of your feed we will generate an image gallery for that article which will be represented by a camera icon overlaid in the main image. Tapping the camera icon will launch a full screen image gallery where the user can swipe through the images.
Firebase in-app messaging
We have extended our integration with Firebase to support in-app messaging. Messages are authored and sent from the Firebase console in the same way as push notifications and can be sent to targeted groups based on analytics.
Messages will appear in the app and can be set up to appear on any event, so on first launch for example, or when a user completes a certain action such downloading an edition or bookmarking an article.
In-app messages can support images and external links, so could not only be used for directing users to specific features and functionality within the app, but also for promoting features on your website, subscription offers or even third-party advertisers.
Support for multiple article templates
We are now able to support different article templates in both the app and the PWA so that you can choose to have a different look for certain sections of your publication. This can work well for sections such as Lifestyle, for longer reads or perhaps an “Editor’s letter”. There are a number of templates that are available out of the box with the product or we can work with you to develop your own templates if you have a specific style.
Article by article reading experience
If you would prefer your edition to be presented as a fully optimised set of responsive HTML article templates rather than a PDF replica, we can now offer a reading experience that goes from front page directly into the article view and allows the reader to navigate the edition at article level. We’re working on a Table of Contents page template for this flow as well so that in a magazine style the reader is presented with a page after the front cover listing the content of the edition.
Download prompt for the reader
When a user enters an edition we will prompt them to see if they would like to download in the background. This avoids user confusion where sometimes they think because they have read an edition it has downloaded, which is not the case.
The user can select for this to always happen, and then can control that option through the settings page in the app, where they can also select how many editions should remain on the device before they are automatically deleted.
Nav bar behaviour on pinch and zoom
We have updated the behaviour of the nav bar in the apps so that when a user uses pinch to zoom in on the PDF replica, the nav bars at the top and bottom of the page will disappear to allow the full screen of the device to be used.
Text change to the page browser
Based on feedback from end users and clients we are making a text change to the page browser to make it more obvious to users that they can browse all pages or articles by tapping the bottom navigation bar.
The visible text will now read “View all pages” in the page browser or “View all articles” when in the article view