We’re in a hurry and we’re bombarded by an abundance of news. Our attention span is comparable to that of a goldfish. Increasingly, we merely scan the news on our mobile devices and have less time to read long texts.
In response to this reality, Le Journal de Montréal and Le Journal de Québec launched their J5 application in December 2014, allowing their readers to quickly access the news they want, in accordance with their interests, by selecting 5 themes and 5 columnists. Based on these choices, they receive the 5 most relevant news items in real time. This application is available on smart phones and is designed to bring the news back into focus for readers.
“This is not a reply to Facebook, which a main source of news, or to La Presse, which has launched an aggressive campaign for tablets,” explains Benoit Dussault, Art Director for Le Journal de Montréal and Le Journal de Québec. The point was to provide readers with a resource they can use several times a day.
When users download the application for the first time, they choose their favourite section, which becomes their front page, and where they will find news updates all day long.
The design team built the application around the number 5: busy readers can spend 5 minutes on a page 5 times a day.
At the dailies’ offices, content managers place news items in the application and keep things moving all the time. “It all depends on what’s going on,” says Benoit Dussault. “For instance, if the weather turns nice, we can recommend the most attractive outdoor terraces in town for happy hour. Users can subscribe to news alerts, for example, if they’re hockey fans, they receive a message when a goal is scored for games they can’t follow on TV. This is an application that is meant to be responsive and alive.”
Obviously, this is not the first news application to appear on the market. The team made a conscious decision in launching a smartphone app first, with the tablet version to be released later. A year later, in its second round of deployment, the application was made available on smart watches.
“We firmly believe in print, which is given plenty of room to develop,” adds Benoit Dussault. “We focused on smart phones as a way of targeting a younger readership along with the 35 to 60-year-olds.”
More than a year following the launch of J5, the most popular section remains sac de chips (bag of chips), which features general news and unusual events, for example, the mail carrier who was attacked by turkeys or the list of the ten youngest billionaires in the world.