iPhone App UX Review: NY Times vs. USA Today


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Comparison of iPhone news apps: NY Times and USA Today.

Published in: Design, Devices & Hardware
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iPhone App UX Review: NY Times vs. USA Today

  1. New York Times vs. USA Today: iPhone App UX Review Suzanne Ginsburg, Principal suzanne@ginsburg-design.com @suzanneginsburg 1 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  2. Thanks for your interest! Please switch to full-screen view for optimal viewing. 2 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  3. UX Review Goals • Review design strategies & patterns emerging in the iPhone News app space. • Suggest which of the above are working well & which could use improvement. • The goal is not to suggest that one app is better than the other. 3 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  4. Brief app intros 4 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  5. The New York Times • First print issue published in 1851. • Web site launched in 1996. • First iPhone app in July 2008. • Version 2.1 is included in this review. • Ranked #1 in App Store News category as of July 1, 2009. 5 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  6. USA Today • First print issue published in 1982. • Web site launched in 1995. • First iPhone app in December 2008. • Version 1.1 is included in this review. • Ranked #3 in App Store News category as of July 1, 2009. 6 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  7. UX Review 7 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  8. Content & Navigation Category navigation closely mirrors sections on web Content site. primarily accessed via filters (latest, popular) Full list of sections hidden in “More” tab. 8 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  9. Header & Footer Compact design allows Refresh and display of last update at section name top. & weather. “Info” link, last update, & refresh at bottom. 9 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  10. List View Images slightly larger. Headlines in USA Today blue like web shows three site. headlines; NY Times almost four. Prominent ad gets in the way of last headline. 10 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  11. Article View (with photo) Article text takes center Enables stage in this navigation to design. other items in list view. Blue plus sign shows Beautiful overlay with image but larger photo where’s the article? Compact ad format & placement Ability to doesn’t get in resize text & way of article. save article. 11 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  12. Article View (no photo) The differences are less striking when no photo present. 12 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  13. Photos (Grid View) Photos are NY Times organized by uses same category. grid structure Clicking as built-in category will Photos app. open up pane. 13 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  14. Photos (Detail View) NY Times USA Today uses Photos presents grid to photos in navigate to slideshow stories. format. 14 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  15. Sharing Clearly many more sharing options on USA Today. Both apps take the user out of context when sharing via email. Update for 3.0, we hope! 15 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  16. Visual Design USA Today uses the same color coding from their web site. 16 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  17. More USA Today Screens Wide range “Snapshots” of options for includes trivia sharing via & polls, Twitter: perfect for the mobile Twitterific user with a Tweetie few minutes TwitterFon to spare. Twittelator 17 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  18. More NY Times Screens Users can NY Times also save has a search articles for feature that’s viewing later. accessible at all times via the tab bar. 18 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  19. Recommendations 19 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  20. Recommendations # 1 Don’t hide valuable content in “More” tab The NY Times has a lot of rich content in “More” but the user will never see it unless they click on that tab. NYT could take an approach similar to USA Today (categories at top) or allow the user to customize which sections are shown, as done on AP News. AP Customize screen 20 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  21. Recommendations # 2 Make personalization easy & transparent to users USA Today asked to use my current location but NY is still my “favorite” location. Apps should have a clear strategy with regard to user-provided & GPS-provided info for personalization. USA Today weather (defaults to Favorite pane) 21 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  22. Recommendations # 3 Balance the display of images and text Images for NY Times articles can take up an entire screen, getting in the way of the user’s primary goal: to read the article. In contrast, USA Today allows users to view a larger version as needed. Note the NY Times image size works well for a slideshow view. USA Today provides overlay for larger image view 22 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  23. Recommendations # 4 Keep form factor consistent throughout app NY Times byline search results leads to a page that’s not formatted for the iPhone environment. Ideally, this search result should be the same as the app wide search result. NY Times has 2 search result formats--the one in front is better 23 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  24. Recommendations # 5 Keep the user within context as much as possible Both applications take the user out of context when sharing articles via email, Twitter, etc. This may change once both apps upgrade to OS 3.0. Whole Food share via email keeps user within context 24 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  25. Thanks for viewing! • That’s all for now! • There are many other notable design details but I’d like to keep these reviews to under 25 slides. If there’s interest I may expand future reviews. • Suggestions for future reviews are welcome. Please send email to suggest@iphoneuxreviews.com 25 Thursday, July 2, 2009
  26. Suzanne Ginsburg: suzanne@ginsburg-design.com @suzanneginsburg Blog: http://www.iphoneuxreviews.com Thursday, July 2, 2009