The app will run on iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Chrome mobile browsers, said Christopher Madden, director of Navy media content in the Navy Office of Information, during a demonstration Thursday in advance of the app's release. The overall purpose of the app is to provide a source of news and information about the U.S. Navy that is of interest to the broad Navy community, he said. All information on the site is considered public information.
As for the release date, "We're waiting for a couple of the [app] stores" to have the app available. "We don't want to favor one platform over another," Madden said.
The Navy opted to create a brand new app rather than wait for a mobile-adapted update of its Navy.mil website because redesigning the site would take some time. "Or we could move out with fast, light, quick use of the content from Navy.mil and add features that are unique to the mobile app," Madden explained.
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A demonstration of the app showed that much of the content follows what is already available on the Navy website. But there are touches in the design well-suited to mobile devices, such as a scroll across the top of the device for breaking news and a one-touch link to crisis services for sexual assault support and suicide crisis support -- both of urgent concern to the military.
Inside the app, users can find Navy-centric information, including health and wellness, piracy, video playlists (including videos from the Secretary of the Navy), image galleries for a wide range of topics (e.g., remote unmanned systems, submarines and the president), and a time-zone feature that shows where fleets, bases and the service's forward presence are located.
The app includes a calendar with dates of interest to sailors and their families, such as when the next selection board for chief petty officer convenes, test schedules and "This Day in Navy History." A section on family readiness is intended to provide useful information in advance of sailors' deployments, hurricane preparedness and similar topics.
"We would be remiss if we didn't include [social media] as a central part of the app," Madden said while showing the page with links to the most popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as email and messaging.
The iOS download is about 17 megabytes, Madden said. "We've tried to keep it pretty light on its feet. We're constantly trying to optimize" the photographic images, he added.