There are few moments I remember in detail from my childhood. There is one, however, which stuck out profoundly as I found out what this article was going to be on. This was the memory of sitting in my grandfather’s car as the clock flipped to the next hour. Along with the changing of the hour came the newscaster giving a rundown of the latest news. NPR was the standard, but it varied depending on the day. As I grow older I still enjoy listening to the top-of-the-hour news, albeit whether it’s purely due to nostalgia or for the information it contains can be debated.
Hourly news updates seem to be a dying breed as technology advances. Instead of getting news on the hour, we’re getting it by the second via Twitter and in some cases push notifications. However, be it for information or otherwise, there are still hundreds of thousands of people who listen to hourly news updates.
Even though the vast resources of the internet can provide us with the NPR radio stream, there isn’t exactly an efficient way to listen to it, especially across all of your devices. Urban Apps came up with a minimalistic, yet robust solution, Hourly News.
What is it
Hourly News App is an OSX and iOS application built around one simple job; a job it does incredibly well, which is streaming the latest top-of-the-hour news from a specified source. With just one tap you will have the most recent updates playing, whether it’s on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
With NPR, BBC, CBC, FOX, CBS, ESPN, and many more to choose from, it’s easy to keep up with the sources most relevant to you. Once you’ve enabled and disabled the sources to your liking, you also have the option to reorder them, so the most important updates come first in case time is limited.
There isn’t much to the UI, but in presenting the bare essential it presents only the necessary information. By stripping the process of listening to the latest updates down to pressing a play button, Urban Apps creates an almost invisible experience.
One of my favorite aspects of the UI is the typography. Although text isn’t always shown, when it is, it’s extremely well implemented. The typography is very much akin to such you would see in an actual newspaper headline, although I’m unsure if their intention was to do so. Regardless, it’s a nice touch of implementing the real-world aesthetics into digital design for the sake of familiarity and overall look.
Besides the play button in the menu bar – or presented very prominently on your iOS device – there is text notifying you of what station it’s currently on, along with a progression bar letting you know how far along into the current update you are.
Whether purely for the sake of nostalgia or for actually taking in the information, Hourly News App will present you with a collection of up-to-the-hour news. The minimalistic aesthetics of the app is what does it for me, though. I would rather have one app do one task extremely well than an app which poorly presents me with four separate options and Hourly News App takes advantage of people who think along the same lines.