Northern Ireland

What the BBC News NI app revamp means for you

BBC News app
Image caption The new app was rolled out across the UK at the end of January

If you are a regular user of BBC News NI's online services, you will have seen some recent changes to the mobile and tablet app.

They have been made to provide users with a more personalised service.

The revamp is part of a wider shake-up, which will also involve major changes to the look of the BBC News NI website.

The app was rolled out to Android and iOS devices in the UK in January.

What has changed?

Image caption The My News section collates articles from the various topics a person has chosen to follow

The design of the new app is all about personalising the service - that means that users can now add feeds of their choice alongside the pre-existing news sections at the top of the screen.

Users can search for topics they are interested in and add them to the existing menus, in order to keep up-to-date with news stories being published that are relevant to the topic.

Previously, users could only choose from existing regional sections and topics also on the desktop site.

At first glance, it may seem like a lot to take in, as the new menu introduces several sections to the app:

Most Read - the most clicked text articles on the BBC News website

Most Watched - the most clicked video and audio clips

Most Popular - contents from the two previous menus collected together for the tablet version of the app

My News - a feed of articles collated from the various topics a person has chosen to follow

Individual topics - stories relating to a specific user-selected theme

Also, while the old app had horizontal rows of stories representing each section, the new one shifts to a vertical design.

What topics are available?

The personalised options have been made possible by a new tagging system, which involves the journalist responsible for a story associating it with relevant keywords.

Image caption The app provides prompts to help users cope with the user interface changes

There are about 65,000 topics to choose from including celebrities, places, events, TV shows, political parties, sports teams, companies, music groups - pretty much anything you can think of, with more being added.

There are also specific tags such as NI health, NI economy and NI politics, which means users can keep up-to-date with Northern Ireland-specific stories that would not necessarily appear in the main health or economy menus.

Users can select topics to follow by clicking on the menu button at the top of the app.

They are then taken to a search screen where they can look for topics they are interested in.

Users can have up to 25 topics on their personalised menu at any time, and can switch around the order in which they appear on the menu as well.

Image caption Users can choose up to 25 personalised topics to follow on the app

What else does the app provide?

One of the other major changes to the app is that there is now much greater access to BBC News NI's video content.

On the old app, video footage only appeared if it had been embedded into a main story.

However, now all of the videos that are available on the desktop site appear on the menu for where you live.

Previously, there was no access to more detailed stories and features on the app, which appear on the right hand side of the desktop site.

Thanks to the new app's layout, users can access all of the features published on whatever menu they are looking at.

How do I get the app?

The new app is currently only available to iOS and Android users. There is no plan at present for a version for Windows Phone or other mobile systems.

The old app can still be used by Windows Phone owners and Blackberry users, but there are plans to turn it off completely by 2016.

There are also changes being made to the desktop site that are expected to come into effect later in 2015.

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