WRAL Digital Launches All-New App Design
Capitol Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate in Raleigh, N.C. (DMA 27) today announced that its WRAL News app, “the first mobile app from a local U.S. TV station, has been completely rebuilt and redesigned to give users more control over the content that is most important to them.”
The new app puts users in the driver’s seat through its My News feature, enabling users to log in to their WRAL.com account and select topics they want to see in a personalized feed that is quickly accessed from any screen.
Users can also customize the types of push notifications they receive. Location preferences for weather updates can also be set within the app to show hyper-local weather conditions throughout the day.
“We think loyal WRAL viewers and app users will appreciate having quick, reliable access to the news and information that matters most to them,” said John Conway, general manager of WRAL Digital.
The app makes it easier than ever to watch the Triangle’s most-viewed TV news — live or on-demand. The new video player gives users the option to scroll through content as the newscast plays, or to switch to full-screen video mode.
As of the end of 2019, the WRAL News App had been downloaded over 600,000 times from the Apple, Google and Amazon stores. According to the station, the app sees the most visits from people in the Triangle, Triad and coastal regions of North Carolina, averaging nearly 200,000 users each month who visit two to three times a day. The WRAL News app, which made its debut in 2009, averages more than 100 downloads daily.
The updates to the WRAL News App have been made with the most frequent users in mind. According to RescueTime, an app that helps people track their usage of apps and their phones in general, Americans spend an average of three hours and 15 minutes on their phones every day. Most of that time, according to Nieman Lab research from 2019, is spent on games and social apps. Users expect news apps to serve as a quick resource for information and weather that they care about.
The WRAL News app redesign makes the most popular features — news, weather and video — easier to access. Other changes have been made to improve app load times and simplify page layouts. Headlines and images appear larger, page layouts are simpler, and app navigation and search are both easier for the user. Video previews are available as users scroll on pages.
Weather is one of the most critical day-to-day sections of the app, and the new design reflects that. If a user has turned on location services, they will see the temperature and weather conditions for their current location featured prominently in the header of the app. Tapping the weather icon allows quick access at any time to an array of weather content to help users plan for the next few hours or days. A three-day look and dynamic radar thumbnail are in a prominent position on the Top News screen.
“We know that users come to us reliably for weather updates,” Conway said. “The app gives them everything they need to know, from an experienced weather team they trust, including frequent updates throughout the day from the Severe Weather Center.”
Users who enable auto-updating of apps on their devices will see the new app without having to take any action. Others can get the new version for free by searching “WRAL” in the Apple or Google stores and either installing for updating the app.
Once users update or download the WRAL News app, they will notice that there are three primary ways to experience the app — they can curate their My News section, visit the Latest News section to see stories in the order they are published over the last 24 hours, or they can view the home page and see stories prioritized by the WRAL newsroom staff.
There is also access to WRAL’s rich archive of video content including investigations, WRAL Documentaries, The Tar Heel Traveler and more. Users can also access a growing number of local news, sports and entertainment podcasts via the app. The new app also has a custom layout for tablet users that incorporates all of the new functionality.
WRAL Digital, formerly known as CBC New Media Group, redesigned the WRAL Weather app in 2018, providing even more features and local updates directly from its seasoned Severe Weather team. The WRAL Digital team also built the HighSchoolOT and Out & About apps, which focus on prep sports coverage and helping people find information about local concerts, festivals, restaurants, movies and other forms of entertainment.