Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday media app updates: Nomad Editions tweaks its UI; SF Chronicle and Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin updates

For some reason it seems that many of the media app updates land on Friday. I'm sure this is purely a coincidence, but once again this week a slew of my media apps got updated today, here is a look at a few of them:
Nomad Editions had their app update released last night (so technically it was Thursday when the app update hit the App Store).

The updated app description says it has a "complete UI redesign", as well as a new icon and some bug fixes – and I was able to notice some nice changes to the app.

There are now seven magazines available through Nomad, though Good Dog did not reveal any issues currently available even though the website seems to imply that there should be two issues out.

One of the smarter things the folks at Nomad have decided to do is to offer the first issue of any magazine for free. This encourages readers to explore the company's offering before subscribing. The cost is still very reasonable, as well: 99 cents per issue or $9.99 per year.
(If you are not familiar with the Nomad business model you can start here, there have been numerous posts about Nomad that have appeared on TNM.)

The two problems I continue to see with Nomad are fairly minor and can, I believe, be corrected. First, the current app is "sticky", making navigation a bit herky-jerky – a little WD40 applied by the developer should correct that.

The second remains magazine design, the very thing that was touted as the company's strength. I find that the magazines look to me like those issues in Quark or InDesign just before the editors get to them, with articles that are a paragraph too long or short. In short, the magazine's look unedited. The very system created by Nomad may be at fault here but the solution seems clear and rather obvious: the editors of the Nomad Editions need to be encouraged to look at their magazines before "publications" so they can make the necessary adjustments – if they are already doing this, then there are even deeper problems to be worked out.

Hearst Newspapers have released an updated version of its San Francisco Chronicle for iPad app. I like the overall look of the app in that it retains the look of a newspaper, while performing like a tablet edition. The update supposedly brings in navigation enhancements and fixes bugs and improves stability – all under the hood things.

One of the annoying things about the app remains its auto-refreshes. Touching the sections "cover flow" device and then returning to the home page forces a refresh, which is complete unnecessary and makes the app appear buggy. Also, while some sections have images, others simply have text – this is probably an error that will be corrected. I also find the load times pretty slow, but not too bad.

The app still offers downloaders the first 30 days free, with the subscription at %5.99 per month or $59.99 per year.

I used to work at Hearst many years ago and always thought it was too NYC oriented to succeed on the west coast. Today Hearst Newspapers is producing its apps from NYC, and call it a west coast bias, but I don't understand why they haven't created a new media division in San Francisco.

Having said that, I think this is a pretty damn good app – I especially like the way they have built their 'Download & Go' feature. Still having a property in San Francisco in the middle both the Internet boom, and now the mobile media boom, and not taking advantage of the situation is a sin.

Three other updates to mention:

CBC News has updated their universal iOS app: Read news even without a connection. Turn on "Offline Reading" to save articles to your device. The app saves Top Stories, plus the sections you read the most. Turn either of these options on or off: iPhone users can find the options by tapping "More", then "Edit Home". iPad users can find these options in "Settings".

Also from Canada The Globe and Mail: News app has been updated. It promises "substantial stability improvements", as well as the usual bog fixes.

Finally, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin has been updated once again. The first time the app appeared in the App Store it was pulled, then reintroduced. So technically this update only brings the app up to version 1.0.1.

Nothing major here, just some bug fixes. The first look at this app from Germany can be read here.

1 Comment:

Tablazines said...

Yea it's the Treesaver tech that Nomad uses that creates those "one paragraph pages".

I toyed with the tech for a while to release some web based publications but decided to hold off until OnSwipe and Aside Mag's tech was available.