Hi, I’m Dais. You may remember me from such articles as Welcome to the World of Tomorrow and Adwords Kinda Sucks. Most likely you don’t though, and that’s just fine. What you need to know is that, growing up, the only views I got of a locker room were from inside the locker I was just shoved in, and when people refer to the MAC I think of Media Access Control before the Mid-American Conference. Rarely do I have the opportunity to contribute something of value to this site, but occasionally the sports world collides violently with the mouth-breathing, broken-glasses world I live in. Prepare yourselves, it’s going to get a little geeky.
SB Nation released its first mobile application today in Apple’s iOS App Store. A few hours later, a tired Steve Jobs woke up in his west coast mansion, read about the SB Nation app, and promptly resigned as CEO of the computer company he founded and led to greatness. I’m sorry Mike, but I’m holding you personally responsible for this one.
The release of this app came as a surprise to me because SB Nation has a fantastic mobile engine that does a great job rendering posts and comments from their blogs. Their mobile UI is better than 99% of the sites out there and I wondered how an application could improve upon it.
It is clear from the onset that this app is designed to push you away from the comforting arms of the SB Nation blogs you’re used to and into the cold depths of online semi-amateur sports journalism. The home screen is a facebook style Newsfeed which shows top stories and stories from your lineup,. Those top stories can be followed and the app will alert you when a new article on that story is written.
The Lineup tab allows you to select teams and blogs which you would like to follow. The process is simple enough with teams being organized by conference and blogs alphabetically. There is one glaring weakness for those of us rational fans that are fans of the same college in multiple sports.
While TheWhiteMandingo will know which sport he has selected, it won’t be apparent to most.
Selecting any of those three choices will bring up stories about that team or all the stories of the blog. Even though the user doesn’t really know whether or not they’ve selected the football or basketball instance of their team, the stories are supposed to be limited to that sport. Apparently, the SB Nation tagging system doesn’t make it too easy for the writers to tell which team they’re tagging as the first article in the UofL football section is from aseaofblue because they quote Rick Pitino but mistakenly use the "ncaa-football/teams/louisville-cardinals" tag. Somebody else go talk to Glenn about that. . .on second thought, just let it go.
Viewing blogs individually is pretty slick. The first page shows a title of all recent entries, and selecting them brings the article up. Single-tapping brings up the menu to go back or comment. One missing feature is that it shows no distinction from previous and new comments, and does not even display whether there are new comments on the article at all. In-app video integration works well, but as the app doesn’t seem to support landscape mode so the videos are never able to take advantage of the entire screen.
The SB Nation app is a solid first attempt at a mobile application, complete with most of the options you would expect and a few more. I have found myself reading other blogs than I would not have otherwise due to the newsfeed which I think is the main reason the app exists. Android users shouldn’t have to wait too long for their version, and Windows Mobile users will only have to wait for Microsoft to buy SB Nation.