Hufvudstadsbladet (HBL) is the Swedish-language newspaper with the widest circulation in Finland. Partnered by Digia, HBL launched a new mobile app before Christmas. The application is available for both Android and iOS phones, and it is implemented as a hybrid model utilising native development tools and online technologies (React).
“Roughly 60–70% of HBL’s readers are already consuming news contents on a mobile device. If anything, the trend just seems to be growing. Our application is a response to this change in consumer behaviour. That’s why this is such a strategically important project for us,” says Antti Haarala, Chief Digital Officer of KSF Media, the publisher of HBL.
The new app also enables non-subscribers to access HBL contents. In this sense, the app makes HBL’s contents more easily available and lowers the threshold for new subscribers. More clearly than before, HBL’s previous mobile app, HBL 365, will become a news reader app for subscribers.
“The main goal of the new application is to engage readers. We want to see people who download the app to continue using it, not delete it after a short trial period. In the light of the first experiences, we have succeeded in this. For example, instant updates on news events via push notifications is a vital service for the readers,” says Haarala.
Diversity of content a challenge for technical implementation – solution is hybrid
In addition to text and image, modern media content comprises a wide range of elements, such as videos, graphs, visualisations and external links. The implementation of these technologies without compromising on download speeds was the project’s biggest challenge, both for HBL and Digia’s seasoned mobile development pros.
“In the end, we opted for a hybrid model, where the news listings are generated natively for the iOS and Android platforms and individual article views are created on React, using online technologies. This minimises the volume of data transfer, while maximising performance. The end result is an app that looks very native from the user’s viewpoint and quickly downloads articles,” explains Mikko Sairanen from Digia.
By putting the HBL app to good use, KSF Media is next planning to implement dedicated mobile apps also for the Group’s local Swedish-language newspapers, Västra Nyland and Östnyland.
“The basis of the HBL application project was to create one working application template that can be easily converted for the use of the Group’s other media. All of the Group’s newspapers are produced using the same systems, so utilising the same mobile platform is a logical and fairly simple step,” says Haarala.
According to Haarala, the project has progressed smoothly – thanks to a dedicated and passionate team.
“I want to thank everyone at Digia. Their developers turned our vision into reality. Everyone has given 100% for the project, working with great enthusiasm and in close collaboration,” concludes Haarala.
CDO, KSF Media
Tel. +358 50 305 9073
Delivery Lead, Digia Plc
Tel. +358 40 761 1842
Director, Mobile and Online Services, Digia Plc
Tel. +358 50 576 0455