UK newspaper The Independent launched an iPad app this morning, but it still needs a little work.
The free app is a far cry from the offering by The Guardian, which we raved about recently, but The Indie (as it is affectionately known by UK hacks) has had to struggle by on a tiny budget for decades. It’s not going to have the same sort of cash to spend on digital news projects.
Sadly, that shows in this morning’s newly-launched app. It’s functional, but very basic. There’s no access to an archive of issues; you get today’s paper, swiftly downloaded to your device when you open the app (so offline reading is possible).
But as a newspaper reading experience, it’s disappointing. You can’t swipe your way between articles. The primary navigation tool is an icon of a bullet list in the top left corner – tap this and you’ll see links to section front pages, and from those you can reach individual stories. The upshot is a lot of tapping to move around, which soon feels like hard work.
Stranger still, today’s launch issue shows signs of being released before it’s ready. On story pages, the newspaper’s masthead graphic doesn’t quite fit into the space allocated for it, so the line immediately below cuts through the graphic. Worse still, there are broken images all over the place, even on the front page. Teething problems, no doubt, but a shame they weren’t spotted before the app was made public.
If you’re a regular reader of The Indie and like reading news on your iPad, you’ll probably jump to get this app. But as it stands right now, there’s little on offer here to tempt people away from other news apps.