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Interactive Annual 17:
information design

NYTimes for iPad

Launch Live Site

“An easy-to-read layout and typography and a natural extension of the brand ”
—Jill Nussbaum

“The fluidity of the layout, the exquisite typography and the unique esthetics show, once again, that the New York Times understands how to transfer newspaper reading to a digital news experience. It allows the experienced newsreader to stay informed and engages a junior audience who may not have been keen on current events.” —Véronique Brossier

Overview: Incorporating the best of print and digital into an interactive, multimedia-rich app, NYTimes for iPad offers an up-to-date, continuous feed of articles from all sections of the paper. With a thoughtful navigation, it encourages discovery while giving readers a sense of place within a defined set of content. The app includes over 25 content sections, including Arts, Technology, Politics, Science, Style, new sections for Photos and Video, and a selection of the latest Times blogs. Designed to store content locally on the iPad for offline reading, users can share articles, photos and video through Facebook, Twitter and e-mail and breaking news alerts keep users informed, even when the app is closed.

  • • The application was designed and developed in-house and required coordinated efforts from more than a dozen teams. The first release of the app was created in less than six weeks.
  • • Advertising positions were designed to provide clients with large, beautiful canvases and engaging rich-media capabilities.
  • • The app was downloaded more than one million times in 2010.

Comments by the New York Times

Were there any specific demands that made the project easier or harder? “The NYTimes for iPad application started out as a demo that three people worked on at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, prior to the January 2010 debut of the iPad. Designing an application without knowing the context of use, who would be using it or why, presented a unique challenge. We used scenarios, storyboards and our insights from previous iPhone-user research sessions to inform our decisions. Despite immense pressure and deadlines, three people were able to build a significant portion of the app in less than three weeks because we were all in the same room and working without interruption”

Did you use technology you hadn’t used before? “The technology was very similar to the iPhone, but there were new interaction models, new interface elements and more screen real estate, but zero insight into what native or third-party applications would look like on the iPad. We were more or less designing in the dark. Our goal was to launch an application that could grow and adapt as the technology evolved, interaction models became more established and user expectations more clear.”

How did the team dynamic affect development? “Designing, building and launching applications like this one required unprecedented collaboration from groups that span the entire company. Gathering requirements, communicating design and getting sign-off from all stakeholders was no small feat. However, the core design and development team had worked on numerous projects together, so our familiarity and respect for each other definitely made aspects of this project easier.”


The New York Times (New York, NY), project design and development/client

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