Jobs is right about newspaper apps

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

From an article about Gordon McCloud’s abrupt departure from the Wall Street Journal:

In a Q&A session with the assembled executives and managers, including Journal editors, Steve Jobs railed against the apps newspapers like the Journal have created for his iPad. Their interfaces are terrible, he said, and their content is all too often limited. That the Journal’s archrival the New York Times was among those singled out for criticism — Jobs hates the limited NYT Editors’ Choice app — must have helped take the sting off. And Jobs did praise the WSJ’s iPad app as very attractive. But the CEO also said the app was too slow, essentially calling it a clunky reading experience.

The thing is, in my experience, Jobs is right. Most apps from traditional publishers are a league behind offerings like Flipboard in their usability and reader experience. Jobs may be rude and arrogant at times, but there are few on the planet with his obsession over good user experiences, particularly on his own devices.

Gawker, as you would expect, is trying to characterise this is “if you cross Steve Jobs, you get sacked”. However, if you can’t take advice on a good user experience from a man whose entire career has been based on providing it – then perhaps the company is better off without you.

appleappsiPadnational newspapersSteve JobsUser experience design

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.