Mobile apps developer StepLeader has overhauled launched its app user interface and backend infrastructure to improve the appearance and navigation for offerings.

The Raleigh company, spun out of Capital Broadcasting’s New Media division, is coming off of a $4.4 million round of financing that included participation from Bull City Venture Partners and River Cities Capital Fund.

StepLeader develops apps that offer a range of media content via mobile devices.Besides news, the company’s apps cover weather and video for clients that include newspapers and television stations. The company’s software also delivers advertising; StepLeader says it delivers more than 400 million ads monthly.

In a blog post, Matthew Davis of StepLeader explained the reasoning behind the change:

“Why #1

“n mobile, the 18 months since our last update felt like a decade, so we knew our current design needed to be refreshed. This is the obvious answer.

“Why #2

“Mobile evolves quickly, and therefore consumer and customer requirements do also. We received tons of great feature requests, and we used the new design as the opportunity to fold these in.

“Why #3

“Our customers are changing. Think back to the web 15 years ago. Everything about creating, hosting, building, and maintaining websites was incredibly difficult and companies outsourced this work. But that changed over time. Mobile still feels like this today, but as mobile traffic begins to exceed desktop traffic, so does the importance of “owning mobile”. But what does “owning mobile” really mean?”

App Mirrors Browsers

With the new offering, StepLeader aims to bring new functionality to its app, creating an experience that more closely mirrors standard browsing behaviors. Users will be able to see multiple images and videos with each story, clickable HTML links and the inclusion of related stories. StepLeader is also bringing new imagery and video elements to the apps, used on mobile devices and smart TV. StepLeader customers include WRAL and the Palm Beach Post.

“With the approach the engineering team adopted with this rebuild, we now have the ability to begin offering uniqueness at scale and supporting new releases every month,” Handly said. “Our partners have been asking for a unique approach, and we’re thrilled to bring this App-as-a-Service backbone to the market.” Customers will soon be able to implement any front-end app design on top of StepLeader’s architecture. This new infrastructure also allows for greater openness, facilitating third-party integrations and content partnerships

For the new release, the company invested in back-end infrastructure with an eye on making the app scalable. StepLeader CEO Brian Handly said that customers will be able to implement any front-end app design on top of StepLeader’s architecture.

StepLeader’s roots date to 2004 when Capital Broadcasting formed a company called NewsOverWireless. In 2012, the company spun out as a separate entity called StepLeader with Handly as CEO.

(Editor’s note: Capitol Broadcasting is the parent of WRALTechWire, which also is part of Capitol’s New Media division.)