December 6, 2013
The New York Times has launched a responsive Web app for its daily print edition, designed for tablets and computers. “Today’s Paper,” built with HTML5, offers the content of the daily edition in a layout that is similar to the paper’s iPad app in Newsstand. It is delivered on a regular daily schedule and structured similarly to the print version, for those frustrated by segmented apps and digital offerings. Interaction on a tablet offers swiping and gestures rather than clicking and scrolling.
“All of the sections of the paper are faithfully recreated in the browser, and the last seven days worth of Times dispatches can be downloaded for offline reading,” reports Engadget. “Obviously, you’ll still have to remember to download them before you walk away from your Wi-Fi. Oh, and you’ll also need to be a paying subscriber — either digital or home delivery are acceptable.”
“The Web app seems designed for readers who appreciate the benefits offered by digital but miss the experience of reading a definitive daily edition,” adds The Verge. “By limiting itself to content that’s selected to go into the paper each day, ‘Today’s Paper’ should appeal to those who feel a bit overwhelmed by the full breadth of The New York Times‘ reporting.”
NYT has a number of standalone Android and iOS apps, and its current website features a “Today’s Paper” tab that offers a bullet-point list of headlines. The paper is also expected to launch its completely overhauled responsive website early next year.
“Soon after we launched our experimental Web App we discovered that ‘Today’s Paper’ was one of the most popular sections,” said Denise Warren, EVP of digital products and services at NYT. “This new reading experience is the next step in our ongoing process to develop new and valuable digital products that offer our subscribers other innovative ways to access our content.”
But the new “Today’s Paper” app is not available for smartphones — and readers who are looking for the latest news plus the print edition will need “to juggle between two separate apps on their iPads,” notes The Verge.
ReadWrite suggests that NYT is missing the point of responsive design, since the app does not run on all screens or devices. It currently supports browsers including Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer.
“It does not support Firefox or Opera on any tablet or the native Android browser on devices that do not use Chrome,” explains ReadWrite. “‘Today’s Paper’ will not work for the Silk browser on a Kindle Fire. The Web app is not optimized for a smartphone. While the Times new Web app does support the three major browsers from Apple, Google and Microsoft, it loses some of the advantages of employing an HTML5 responsive design by not being able to support Firefox or Silk and to be optimized for smartphones.”