5 Things That Make The Daily for iPad Rock

Posted: February 6, 2011 in Articles, magazines, publishing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
[33/365] The Daily

Image by Ben Dodson via Flickr

As someone who has been watching the publishing world try to figure out how to take advantage of the digital revolution, I couldn’t wait to see the much anticipated The Daily for iPad. I wondered if I would care more about it than I do the magazines on Zinio. Because here’s my deal with the magazines on Zinio: They’re beautiful, and I love flipping through them. In fact, I get so swipe-happy that I look at all the pictures in a brain-dead “I’m thinking about something else” type of way, make it all the way to the end of the magazine and realize that I haven’t read a word.

A little ADD? Yes. But I don’t do that with “real” print magazines. I read them so thoroughly that it takes me a month and a half to get through them. Because when I want to read an article in a print magazine, I don’t have to do the weird two-finger stretch to read more, making the design of the page irrelevant and losing the context of the designed page. I really just don’t like reading that way.

So…to The Daily. The Daily is far from perfect. (Read this blog if you don’t believe me.) It does have issues with loading, sharing, commenting, keeping score (the timer did not stop when I finished my game of Sudoku, which sucks because I made great time!) and content. But here’s what makes The Daily better than the Zinio magazines to me:

  • The “just swiping through won’t do” approach: If you swipe to the left repeatedly, you will get to the end of the issue. But you will have missed the functionality that is built in. Each issue has tons of “tap here,” “swipe this,” “turn iPad for full article,” “scroll down,” “hit play” icons that if you don’t do, you’ve missed the point. I like that. Most of the pages keep me busy or engaged. It reminds me of the books for kids where you lift the flap or turn the wheel or pull the tab — you can’t turn the page until you open every one.
  • All of a sudden, I’m looking at ads: I’m a tough customer to reach. I DVR everything (seriously, everything), so I don’t see ads on TV. (Except for during the Super Bowl, when not watching the ads is a sin.) In magazines, I do tend to look at ads that speak to me in some way, but I can pretty easily tune them out, especially on the swipe-so-fast digital magazines. But in The Daily, I have watched every ad that’s been put in so far. They move, they play, they tease, they make you scroll, they change, they swipe, they make me not turn the page until I have done all the things they will let me do. Brilliant! Especially movie trailers: I’m watching movie trailers of movies I would have never watched an ad for or read a review of.
  • Page layouts that are beautiful from every angle: Graphic design is an amazing thing, but sometimes the web strips out the beauty to give the reader a formula approach — headline goes here, deckhead sits here, photo on the right, comments at bottom, white background. That’s fine, and the reader feeders like Flipboard (which I love) put the content in the same formula all the time. And digital magazines tend to have a graphic design that has been adapted from a print version to the digital, which is not always a perfect transition. But on The Daily, every page works horizontally or vertically. The magazine/newspaper/thing (I mean, really, what do we call it?) is obviously blessed with a good design staff that designs for the actual medium. It’s refreshing.
  • Share/comment/save: I love being able to post links on Twitter, share photos on Facebook, save an article for later, e-mail an article to myself, leave a comment on a story, or even post an audio comment. That’s just cool! But these things only seem to work about half the time. It failed to post the links on Twitter and Facebook that I instructed it to. I assume this is one of those things that will get fixed.
  • Customization: My own local weather pops up, as do scores, videos and headlines about Florida pro teams (football, basketball, baseball, etc.) or other teams I choose.

The Daily is not perfect, but to me, it’s an awesome step in the right direction. It will cost me less than a paper subscription. I don’t have a stack of newspapers on my living room floor. And it gives me information organized in a way that flows and that is generated by human writers, editors and designers (not bots or feeds).

Is The Daily the future of publishing? I don’t know, but it’s at least opening the door for other publishers to figure it out. What has your experience been with The Daily, Zinio or other digital magazines? Do you swipe through digital magazines too fast, or is that just me?

–Tyler Reed

Editor, The Sidebar Review

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Comments
  1. Beth Ramos says:

    So, I need an I-Pad for this magazine, huh? When will it be ready for the droid?

    • Yes, it’s an iPad-only app. It doesn’t work on iPhones or Droids. But it’s just the beginning of these types of things, Beth — expect to see publishing platforms on every device in a couple of years!

  2. Corey says:

    The Daily seems really buggy. It crashes half the time. Sometimes it won’t even launch. And there’s a update every other day. The last update warned me to delete the app before updating. At this point I don’t see myself paying $.99 a week for this. The USAToday for iPad will suffice.

    • USAToday for iPad is good too. I wish it looked more like The Daily and was as interactive. But since this review, a few more issues of The Daily have come out, and I’ve seen some content that did not seem very well-researched, which concerns me — especially when it’s still so new. If the reporters are slacking off now when they have all this scrutiny, what will they be like in a few weeks/months/years when they have an established, paying subscriber base?

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