How Bloomberg built its latest mobile app

Bloomberg has spent a lot of time and effort finding out what subscribers want from a mobile service. The result is its latest iPad app.

In developing Bloomberg's next-generation mobile video app, general manager and global head of mobile and connected devices Oke Okaro (pictured) and his team of mobile experts studied how people use the news service.

As Computer Weekly has previously reported, the financial news organisation has seen an increase in mobile consumption of its content. The new app extends mobile access to provide video content on the Apple iPad

“If you go to, you will see a mobile video experience via the mobile web. With the iPad, the app allows us to deliver a more premium experience,” said Okaro.

“Historically in product development, a lot of focus is spent on putting the product together. We wanted to focus on the product experience,” he added.

Okaro and his team used instrumentation to track crashes and to see what people were doing to improve the user experience.

Bloomberg ran surveys to decide how to develop the new app, as well as taking customer suggestions on board. It also ran qualitative research using focus groups with existing and prospective users to determine what they liked and did not like about the service.

The research found Bloomberg's users generally choose what they want to consume based on media type. 

“At the gym, they want to listen to the news. When they wake up, they use the core Bloomberg text-based app. They add videos to their playlist to watch video on the go. And on Thursdays and Fridays they read Businessweek,” said Okaro.

This information has been collected to help Bloomberg build its latest app, which provides Bloomberg video on Apple iPads and iPhones.

Reflecting consumer usage

In many ways, Bloomberg is mirroring new developments in web user experience. For instance, Amazon's WhisperSync now enables the same content to be synchronised across multiple devices and NetFlix allows users to select categories of programmes.

“If you select a channel on Bloomberg with a checkbox, you get a notification when a new video has been posted,” said Okaro. People can also create their own channels to watch people, companies or country-specific news.

The multi-channel delivery feature enables the user to switch between watching a video and listening just to the audio feed.

The Bloomberg app delivers video content including breaking news, the latest business stories, special events – such as the Consumer Electronics Show, Paris Motor Show, World Economic Forum at Davos – Bloomberg Television Live and on-demand access to Bloomberg's schedule of programming.

It is free and can be downloaded from the Apple AppStore.

The app portal

Along with the iPad app, Bloomberg has developed its own app store, called the Bloomberg App Portal. 

The company describes the app portal as a new platform that gives Bloomberg subscribers access to a range of speciality applications powered by data and news from the Bloomberg Professional service.

It contains 45 applications covering data analysis, news and research, portfolio management and risk analysis, valuation and pricing, data visualisation and technical analysis. 

Institutional clients can also use the Bloomberg App Portal to deploy proprietary software tools to their own employees and clients.

Third-party applications need to be submitted for review by Bloomberg’s Enterprise Products and Solutions business.

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