Mobile App Development For Book’s Reading: Development Features

Now more and more people are reading books, news, and other content on mobile devices. The advantages of this are obvious: there is no need to physically store a large number of books and magazines. There is also access to a huge library at any time.

At the same time, many people still prefer paper books and magazines. The reasons are different: someone likes the smell of printing ink, some – the rustle of paper. But in most cases, people prefer paper editions because applications for reading books and other content are simply not convenient.

With tablets and specialized devices (Nook, Kindle) everything is clear. They do a good job of conveniently displaying content. But there are some problems with mobile app development software (readers). Let’s look at the main mistakes and peculiarities of mobile readers and content applications.

Physical vs digital format

Many applications for reading books are close to reality. Here you have shelves with books, covers of printed books, and the effect of real page-turning.

It would seem that there is nothing wrong with this? In fact, this method works well only on devices whose physical size is comparable to the physical size of books and magazines. If the physical form factor of the device and the content do not match, then there are difficulties in reading.

The advent of the epub and Mobi formats, adapted for mobile devices, partially solved the problem.

How did Microsoft deal with this problem? The Metro interface design language (now called Windows UI) was developed for Windows Phone and Windows 8.

A good example is the Flipboard app. On the one hand, it is a bit like a printed newspaper; on the other hand, it has all the elements of a digital publication.

Is it easy to write an RSS reader?

Many examples demonstrating the capabilities of mobile platforms are devoted to writing RSS readers. From the first days, a huge number of news clients and RSS readers fill the app stores. It is believed that such an application can easily be written by a student in one evening.

The truth is that you can write something, but it will be absolutely impossible to use such a client. As well as half of the clients released for mobile devices.

Why? Because good readers have to take into account a lot of nuances. For example, they must:

  • support offline mode, while not taking up much space after a few months of use;
  • allow you to manage fonts, backgrounds, subscriptions, and how often they are updated;
  • were fast and consumed little traffic;
  • provide the ability to not only consume content but also to produce and share it;
  • provide a user-friendly interface for content consumption and convenient gesture support for flipping and working with content.

The main problem of readers and content applications is that the content is displayed in its original form (HTML), that is, using a web browser. In this case, the application is a normal wrapper over the browser. And it’s not much different from using an ordinary website (especially with an adaptive design or mobile version). In addition, the web browser does not use native fonts for mobile platforms, so the User Experience suffers greatly.

From this, we can conclude that the functionality and additional information should not interfere with the main task of the user – reading the content.

Simple navigation

Navigation within content applications should be as simple as possible. All additional functions (functions that are not related to reading the news are, with rare exceptions, additional functions) should be hidden in the control panel or called up with the help of extra actions.

The conclusion is the following: more attention should be paid to the model of interaction with the user, as well as to the navigation within the application.

Designing for a specific platform

Many people forget about this and try to transfer the familiar web-based User Experience to mobile platforms. There are also situations when they try to port a mobile app (for example for iOS) to a new platform – Android or Windows Phone.

This is fundamentally wrong because you need to design for a specific platform, taking into account all its features.

Applications look almost identical for all platforms. Companies often explain this by issues of recognition and branding. Yet, practice shows that users rarely use two or three phones with different OS. So you need to work on recognition not in a cross-platform way. Besides, the authors violate the guidelines of at least two mobile platforms.

In conclusion

We hope that a small excursion into the world of content applications and designs was successful. And you can see more clearly why writing content apps is not as easy as it might seem at first glance.