Boston Globe Unleashes ePaper Abomination

If you’ve never visited it, let me tell you that the Boston Globe’s website is excellent. Beautifully responsive, clean, nice layout with plenty of padding and hover popups in all the right places. It offers a much nicer experience than what the NY Times site has become, and actually is such a good experience that it almost tricks me into subscribing. Then I remember that paying > $200 a year for news I’ll probably end up reading elsewhere for free is silly.

Well apparently good design isn’t enough, because recently the Globe launched what has to be the worst thing I have ever seen on the internet – the ePaper. Women and small children may want to avert their eyes.

Holy. Crap.

Wow. Seriously WTF is this?

I’m going to totally let the most obvious question slide – why on Earth would you create a replica of the complete (and thereby outdated) print edition when you have a beautiful HTML5 web site displaying the latest news?

And I’m also going to skip over the fact that adults with college degrees likely spent hundreds of man-hours attempting to digitally recreate the experience of flipping printed pages. Let’s take a break so you can read that last sentence again, because it actually happened. In 2012. Yeah.

We’ll just focus in this ePaper…thing. It’s hideous. There are way, WAY too many buttons and popups. It’s not enjoyable to use. It’s hideous. The interactive audio is streamed via ASF, and sounds horrible. I’m actually getting angry now.

This is heading in the wrong direction. The key to getting more subscribers isn’t trying to appeal to readers who miss newsprint. Provide high-quality content I can’t from 1,000 other sources instantly. Offer curation tools. If Techeme ever decided to go behind a paywall, I’d probably subscribe. Lastly make it affordable. $10 a month and I’d bite.


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