Over the past year, mobile devices have accounted for 30 percent of the new users accessing the Army’s official website, Army.mil. Of these new users, 30 percent are using devices that run a version of Google’s Android operating system. This demonstrates that Android users are interested in the Army’s message, and as such, the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs is working toward ensuring the Army’s message is available to them in a manner that is accessible, reliable, and timely. This is why we are opening up beta testing for the U.S. Army News & Information app for Android.
Currently, the Army.mil website is in the process of transitioning from traditional Web development for desktops to implement more mobile-friendly practices. A recent Medal of Honor website, at http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/white/, serves as a good example of the shift to responsive design and development. While this gradual transition takes place, the Android app will serve as a way to make sure the most frequented information on the site will be mobile accessible for our Android users.
Beta testing will help us make sure that we are not only accessible, but that we are also putting forth a reliable, accurate, and timely product. This is a major challenge on the Android platform, because of the fragmentation that exists amongst Android devices. Phone manufacturers each install different versions of Android, and they engineer devices that vary in screen size, and screen resolution.
This is where you come in! Beta testers with their many Android-based devices will help us make adjustments to the application, based on subjective and objective input gathered through user analytics and feedback.
Android Beta Program
Google Play provides us the ability to control the release of app version. Our goal is to get feedback and data to further improve the app before releasing it to the general public. We hope our testing pool will include a variety of devices and users to ensure we release an app that our audience will find useful.
Please follow these steps to join the beta testing:
NOTE: It is important to follow the steps in the order outlined, or you may not be able to access the Beta download.
Step 1 — Join the U.S. Army News & Information – Android Beta Testers Google+ Community here:
Step 2 — Allow beta downloads by clicking the blue “BECOME A TESTER” in the Play Store here: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/mil.army.news
*NOTE: Google has a 10-minute lag time from when you click to become a tester, and when you can access the download link at the bottom where it says “Download U.S. Army News & Information from the Play Store.” If you can’t access it right away, try again in 10 minutes, or later in the day. If you continue to have issues, post them to the Google+ Community listed in Step 1 and we’ll try to assist you.
Step 3 — Download U.S. Army News & Information from https://play.google.com/apps/testing/mil.army.news, from the bottom where it says “Download U.S. Army News & Information from the Play Store”.
Step 4 — This is the most important step! Tell us what you think inside the Google+ Community (https://plus.google.com/communities/116037273293364936819) or by using the feedback section in the app. We rely on your feedback to improve the product!
That’s it! Thank you for helping the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs deliver a quality product to the Army audience!