Why iPad Adaptation is an Uphill Battle for Incumbent Publishers

A great post appeared on the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing blog today by Andrew Savikas about the new Popular Science+ iPad application. He makes a great point and one that we have been advising a number of our clients to remember. When publishing on the iPad ensure that your content in dynamic and interactive. Do not just recreate your magazine or print edition on a smaller digital screen like a PDF viewer. This is a revolutionary new device so you are going to need to think out of the box; it’s not a black and white static Kindle or Sony E-Reader. Users expect interactivity and the ability to utilize many of the tricks and tools that we are used to on the (social) web today. Here is a link to his article:

Why iPad Adaptation is an Uphill Battle for Incumbent Publishers

Working hyperlinks are the very least we should expect from content like this on a device like the iPad, and they’re the bare minimum form of something notably absent in Popular Science+ — opportunity for engagement. No comment links, no way to see what the most popular content is, no way to email a picture or an article to someone else, no place to submit my own recommendations for better tools or to tweet about what I just read.

What are your favorite media apps on the iPad so far? Why are they so good? What do they do right? What distinguishes them from their print or web version? Let us know your thoughts.


1 Comment

Filed under applications, digital publishing, ipad, mobile, newspapers

One response to “Why iPad Adaptation is an Uphill Battle for Incumbent Publishers

  1. Best news apps so far are Reuters and NPR. Bloomberg is also good, as is The Guardian’s Eyewitness app. I’ll refrain from mentioning the garbage by name.

    Reuters makes great use of news hierarchy, pairs vertical and horizontal scrolling well, has slick video integration and really beautiful charting of market data. Reuters also does a good job of echoing the design conventions of their newly redesigned website without making the app feel like a regular web offering.

    NPR knows what people want from their app, and deliver it well. But until there’s multitasking, I probably won’t find myself using it too much.

    Guardian Eyewitness is a simple photo app, but is just beautiful to look at and intuitive to use. Canon also sponsored the app–a forward-thinking move in itself.

    Basically, the best apps have a market in mind and deliver on that, without overloading the user with extraneous features.

    Speaking of PopSci, The New York Times’s Khoi Vinh has a shall we say, skeptical opinion of what the mag is trying to do.


    The money quote: “the navigation is well-meaning but fussy at best, but honestly much closer to incompetent. (As we get out of the gate with iPad publishing, can we just very quickly impose a moratorium on displaying instructions on how to use reading interfaces? If you need to explain it, we should all agree, then the design isn’t doing its job.) I got lost and frustrated repeatedly, and then I got bored.”

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