A proper innovation from The Guardian

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I’ve finally got around to trying The Guardian’s digital edition and I’ve got to tell you it is absolutely brilliant. In fact, I think it might be the first proper innovation in online newspapers since – ooh – well, the web I suppose (is that overdoing it? Can you think of anything else?).

It sounds like it shouldn’t work: shrunken JPEG facsimiles of every page in the print edition with simple left-to-right navigation and headlines pulled out and presented to the right. Clicking on a headline or on a story from within the page itself loads the text of the story which you can, of course, cut-and-paste or print. Not a plug-in or frame or gnarly proprietary doodad in sight.

It’s all in the execution, though – it’s just seriously slick and satisfying. There really is hardly a wrinkle in the UI – and there’s presumably some pretty heavy-duty inegration with production systems humming away under the hood – not bad for a beta. Everything works as it should. The structure of the physical newspaper is retained and, to my surprise, really works online. It makes ft.com look bloated and inaccessible and the other UK papers are obviously years behind. I think this is the first online paper that might actually persuade me to stop getting the print edition. Simon Waldman, Emily Bell and their team should be proud of themselves (Emily Bell, editor in chief of Guardian Unlimited, writes about their plans for the product, pricing etc. here).

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1 comment

  1. Thanks for pointing to this. It is nice. Wish it worked as well with Safari as it does with Camino (or is it me misunderstanding Safari preferences: not being able to specify sites you’ll accept pop-ups from, and the silly how to print instruction. Or is it me…)

    I’d like to be able to adjust the size of the full page image.

    Is it the future? Remember meeting the first editor of the Electronic Telegraph (a long time ago 1994/5, might have been Ben Felton?), he said he thought a distinction between his job as online editor and that of the print edition ed, was he could add links. Where he directed his readers to off the paper was an important editorial control. And links, experimentation with links (particularly to blogs), is missing from the Guardian’s digital edition. Can imagine them having a great time complementing/supplementing content, say US political stories, with links to Talking Points Memo or Daily Kos.

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