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IMAGE CREDITs: c/o The Daily
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Being in the business of designing for mobile applications myself, I've learned to take all the bile spewed by the general public with a grain of salt. Often its only the people with really negative things to say that bother commenting in the itunes app store. People who are happy with your application usually can't be bothered to post comments and the ones that do are subject to ridicule by the masses — who can't believe you don't agree with their point of view.
So if you take this all into perspective, its been a good past week for Rupert Murdoch. Pundits far and wide have been falling all over themselves to compliment 'The Daily App' but, that was before they spent an extended period of time with it. Reviews were mostly based on brief demos versus days of actual use. Twenty-four hours later there were visible chinks in 'The Daily' app's armor. At least to me that's when the real fangs came out.
Truth be told it was John Biggs writing for TechCrunch, an AOL property, that said it best, "I believe that the subset of users who read the NY Times and other news sources in Safari on the iPad will welcome a move to a standalone app. Provided the content quality stays high and the news value is there, this could be the first iPad app to beat Angry Birds and, more important, truly bring journalism into the 21st century."
The NYConvergence was prescient when it reported (in December mind you) "Much of the negativity is tribal, says The New York Observer. The project is digital so print people are bothered, it’s an app, walled off from the open Internet, so web people don’t like it, and it comes from Rupert Murdoch, who is always controversial. On the other side is the fact that this is a newspaper specifically built for an Apple device, and anytime Steve Jobs gets involved, there is hope that the news business can return to a model where consumers pay more for news. And News Corp. is hiring journalists again."
Innovative Interface, Slick Multimedia Features, Fair to Middling Content...Everyone agrees that Rupert Murdoch & Co got it right when it came to the design and UI of a daily newspaper app. However, after the novelty and honeymoon period wears off, there are troubling things that show the chinks in the armor.
1. The longer you use it, the more cantankerous the app becomes: it forgets where you left off when you pause and perform an app switch. (multitasking)
1. If you engage in more than three videos within a single sitting, it crashes. On average it will crash about 2/3 through the paper requiring you to restart the app. 2. Upon restart it takes approximately 2-3 minutes to reload content it has previously cached. Often it may take restarting the app multiple times before the content for the current day loads in its entirety.
1. The Daily seems to cater to the lowest common denominator when it comes to article/topic selection and content. The writing is so very 'vanilla' or at times just a reposting of AP content readily available online for free. Which means you can hold off on canceling your subscription to the NY Times, USA Today or the Washington Post.2. It is true the video, 360 degree photos, interactive polls and animations are slick but, without more substance it comes off as mindless, pabulum. In the end, it all comes down to good writing and good journalism.3. Repeating content seems to abound as yesterday's news and features are rewritten, reprocessed and reused. The Super Bowl infographics are a good example of this phenomenon.
Yes, I will leave the app on my iPad and check in on Rupert Murdoch & Co. from time to time but, until the content improves I'm unlikely to put down good money for an annual subscription. Before we go — a side note to advertisers: Some early advertisers understood the benefit of the ipad platform and used it to their best advantage, infusing multimedia seamlessly with the swipe experience of reading a 'magazine' thats you Land Rover and the folks behind 'Rango.' Others misunderstood or didn't see the potential and just slapped the usual together, thats you Macy's and Verizon.
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As always, sometimes it is best to make up your own mind
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