I’ve now installed a few magazine and book apps on my Android phone and my iPad, and I’m struck by how many of them attempt to reproduce the look and feel and interactive style of their print forebears (like the New Yorker app, for example). (Same applies to catalog apps as well, like the Ikea catalog app.)
Result? A clunky product that has a huge throw weight over the network, takes a long time to download, is hard to cache, slow to navigate, and not a pleasure to use even though individual pages are often a pleasure to look at.
Haven’t the teams that build these apps read Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows? The Internet wants to grow our brains differently from the Gutenberg era. We need to react quickly to patterns of information, not delve deeply into a logical stream. We need to interact with the controls of our information rendering machine, not move our lips while we read words.
I’m being a bit arch, but there is a point here. If you want a media property — app, site, whatever — that draws a big audience (and I assume these vendors do), then build something that works with the grain of the underlying medium, not something that recalls a lost era.