Yahoo Entertainment: A Brilliant iPad Experience

Yahoo Entertainment is a beautiful way to get your daily dose of Yahoo News. A major improvement to the browser experience, this app contains several sections, each with its own unique experience.

Some might see it as a random collection of interface clich├ęs, but I couldn’t help but find it to be an attractive and enjoyable way to enjoy my new iPad. Read on to see what the app has to offer.

The Home Screen

When you first fire up Yahoo Entertainment, you’ll be taken to a virtual living room. As you can probably guess, each of the three items in the center of the scene takes you to a different feature in the app.

The magazine on the left takes you to the news section, the magazine with the picture of a television takes you to the TV schedule and the DVD case takes you to the videos section.

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The three parts of the app are represented by items in the scene

I normally roll my eyes at virtual room setups as a means to navigate content but this one gets a few things right.

First, it looks great. Instead of an awkward medley of photographic and illustrated objects, Yahoo has stayed towards the high-end illustration feel. The dark room filled with rich colors and textures has a really immersive effect.

Most importantly, you can hit the little “?” button at the bottom left of the screen to see a more traditional and easy to use menu. The boxes that pop up point out what each item in the scene does but they also double as something else you can click to access those features.

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Hitting the question mark makes a user friendly menu appear

As you’ll see below, the attractive visuals extend throughout the rest of the app. Each feature has it’s own unique custom design, which makes for quite a rich user experience perfect for the iPad.

News

The news portion of the app is divided into six different sections: Top Stories, Dear Abby, Book Reviews, Fashion, Odd Stories and Comics.

Top Stories

The Top Stores section loads with an attractive animated grid not unlike that in Flipboard, though more uniformly structured. The squares alternate between solid colors with text and large photographs.

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Top Stories

Tapping on a square brings up the full story. Keep in mind that this ins’t a full-blown news app but more of a daily bite-sized preview of what’s going on in the Entertainment world. There are less than 20 stories to choose from, all from music or Hollywood, and there’s no option to load additional content.

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A sample article

Dear Abby

Next up in the news section is the popular “Dear Abby” column originally founded in 1956 and carried on now by the original author’s daughter.

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Top Stories

It’s basically an advice column that people write into for help with family and relationship issues. I’m not sure what qualifications Abby has for answering such questions but I guess people trust her opinion!

The theme here as seen above is a desktop with a postmarked letter and a pencil. As with the other sections, the graphics are quite nice but here the resolution seems a little low on both the wooden texture and the pencil and shouldould definitely be improved.

Book Reviews

The book reviews section shows a sliding horizontal list of book covers on a wooden background (the same low-res texture we saw earlier). Tapping on a book brings up the review and a larger preview of the cover.

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Book Reviews

The reviews are quite brief and can be read in their entirety in only a minute or two. The genres covered seem to be random and span everything from historical biographies to mystery novels.

Fashion

The fashion area seems to be where the designers spent the least amount of time contriving a clever interface. Instead of a noticeable theme, the stories are displayed simply on a colored background.

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Fashion

There’s no main list or grid view here, you simply tap on the left and right sides of the screen to view other articles (this trick works in most of the app’s sections).

Odd Stories

The Odd Stories section brings us back into the land of themed interfaces, this time with a bulletin board background and scraps of colored paper containing headlines. Tapping on a scrap expands it into a longer sheet of paper with the full story.

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Odd Stories

True to its name, this section does indeed have some bizarre stories that are really fun to read through. You’ll find stories on everything from armless pianists to surprise visits from Johnny Depp.

Comics

The final section of the news portion of Yahoo Entertainment is obviously the best: comics. Here you’ll find a free sampling of the latest Dilbert, Garfield and Marmaduke comic strips.

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Comics

Tapping the index button at the bottom will bring up a list of all 15 comics to choose from. Other notable mentions include Peanuts, Ziggy and Foxtrot.

Yahoo Guide

Back at the home screen, the TV Guide in the middle of the scene brings you to an interactive listing of show and movie times from your local cable provider.

The guide is so good that it could easily be a standalone app that Yahoo charges for so it’s a real bonus to get it here free.

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Yahoo Guide

You can scroll through the times and stations just by flicking around or easily go straight to the one you want using the controls at the bottom. You can also search for specific titles, filter the results by TV and Movies and keep a list of your favorites for quick access.

You’ll also find detailed descriptions of each show along with cast and character lists and complete season episode guides.

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Searching and Show Detail

Yahoo Video

The final section of the app is accessible by tapping either the DVD or the television from the main scene. This brings up a nice theater room interface with hanging curtains and shelves displaying the various video channels.

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The Yahoo Video View

Each video channel has multiple selections available and range in content from current affairs and weather to sports and comedy. I’m a big fan of the Onion News Network and was quite happy to see that they were included in the offering along with JibJab and StupidVideos.com.

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A video from The Onion

Worth A Download?

To be honest, when I first saw the Yahoo Entertainment app in the App Store, I didn’t expect much. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a well-rounded, beautifully designed application simply packed with features.

There are definitely a few sections that need some work but there’s a surprising amount of depth here for a free app. Though there are only three primary sections, there’s enough here to keep you occupied for hours at a time.

Because it’s so diverse and attractive, Yahoo Entertainment is one of those apps that provides you with a great way to show off your fancy iPad to some friends. If only for this reason, I recommend that you download it and keep it on hand.

Conclusion

To sum up, Yahoo Entertainment is a really great free application that helps you remember why you bought an iPad. Even if you’re like me and couldn’t care less about celebrity gossip and Dear Abby columns, there is still plenty of other great content like funny videos and comics to keep you interested.

Go give it a download and let us know what you think.


Summary

Yahoo Entertainment features an interactive Program Guide that lets you plan your TV viewing, watch up-to-the-minute video, read through handpicked news and entertainment, all wrapped up into a series of attractive and unique interfaces.

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