New York Times creates responsive app with traditional print feel

By Tom Kulaga

The New York Times has long been a leader in the media industry’s transition to the Digital Age. At the same time, however, The Times remains committed to delivering its news, information, and entertainment content in ways that meet the needs of all its users, both print and digital. 

In this spirit, The Times decided to develop a responsive app for readers who value the regular schedule, structured composition, and totality of its daily print edition.

On December 5, 2013, The New York Times launched the Today’s Paper Web application. Its fundamental goal is to re-imagine the print reading experience for tablet and desktop subscribers in a way that channels the organisation of the daily newspaper and enables a deeper and more engaged reading experience.

The app was built with the latest HTML5 technologies to maximise accessibility. It can be viewed on the leading desktop and tablet browsers and is designed to be portable. It features swipe- and scroll-friendly navigation; optimised, responsive designs for both portrait and landscape modes; and offline reading for a seamless, efficient reading experience. 

The Today’s Paper app provides users with a straightforward, streamlined user experience in which typography and photography match the print newspaper whenever possible. All articles in the day’s printed newspaper appear in a single “river of news,” allowing easy transitions from one article to the next.

Navigation is controlled via an accordion of expandable sections on the left side of the page. Sections and stories follow the format of the print newspaper, and scans of the print section fronts offer a visual aid. Readers can access a seven-day archive of editions — including the Sunday sections and The New York Times Magazine. And, like the paper, Today’s Paper has a distinct beginning and end.

In the months since its rollout, Today’s Paper has delivered impressive results.

Repeat visits suggest an immediately loyal and satisfied customer base, engaging readers on a level rarely seen by other publishers. Usage between desktop and tablet has been evenly balanced, suggesting that readers of both platforms are getting strong value from the product. What’s more, The Times is seeing Today’s Paper drive new subscriptions from interested users.

Whereas provides a virtually limitless number of options, including easy access to the entire archive of New York Times stories, Today’s Paper is ultimately about marrying the best aspects of the daily newspaper with the numerous benefits of digital — resulting in a daily reading experience unlike any other.

The innovation of Today’s Paper helps to reinforce the singular value that The New York Times has delivered as the provider of “All the News That’s Fit to Print” for almost 163 years.

About Tom Kulaga

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