PolarJournal has been online for two years, sharing daily news and trivia from the polar regions with its growing readership. The topics range from science to politics and economics to culture and society. Through the website and social media channels, the information is disseminated to all interested parties worldwide. Now, to give readers, partners and even itself a present for its second birthday, PolarJournal has become the first polar information platform to create an app for mobile devices and offer it for free download.
The app includes all the latest articles that appear on the PolarJournal website and updates automatically when new material is published. The three most recent titles are displayed on the home screen, just like on the website. This means that app users always have the latest posts at a glance. In terms of language, the app also offers the same convenience as on the website: the user can switch between German and English with a swipe of the finger and is thus taken to the news page in the corresponding language. “We wanted to make sure that all our readers and visitors could use the functions in German or English,” explains Julia Hager, who was responsible for developing the app. “When we officially add more languages, which is planned, the app will be expanded accordingly.”
Heiner Kubny, one of the people responsible for PolarJournal, is also enthusiastic about the app and its functions. “We wanted to use the time during the pandemic wisely and move PolarJournal forward,” he explains. “With the app, people can find out about the latest in polar regions anytime, anywhere. Because with climate change, geopolitical aspects and the hunger for resources, these regions are becoming more and more important. So independent and unbiased reports are essential to form an opinion.” And Dr. Michael Wenger, the initiator of the app idea, says: “Mobile devices now play a big role among our readers. We wanted to take this into account. With the app, you can get information faster and from any location, share the articles more conveniently and also comment on them. In addition, the app size is small and therefore requires less powerful internet connections than the browser version of the website.”
The use of the app is kept simple and intuitive. First, the homescreen opens with the latest three articles, the newsletter subscription and links to other PolarJournal products and channels. From there, the language button at the bottom takes you to the menu corresponding to the desired language with the various functions. It was also important for those responsible that the app is free. “We don’t have a subscription service for the news on the website,” Michael Wenger comments. “It would make absolutely no sense to then charge money for the app. But we put our partners with ads on the app. And we did it in such a way that you see it, but it doesn’t interfere.”
An additional feature has been added to the app with the gallery. Here you can get an idea of what it looks like in the different polar regions. “Many people know all the great footage from professional film crews. But with our pictures we want to show people what the Arctic and Antarctica look like as well, make them understand why we are so fond of these areas and show them to the public as they really are,” says Julia Hager.
The app is now available for download from the Google Play Store and the Apple Store.
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