Jux, the boldest, loudest big-screen personal publishing platform around, has just made its natural leap to the iPad. As of today, the multimedia publishing platform that launched in August now supports touch-powered browsing. It's iPad-optimized, but all it needs is a tablet browser. Just go to jux.com and dive in.
When I covered Jux's desktop launch, I called it "post-blogging." I intended some irony then, but now that I've touched Jux on an iPad, I take it seriously. Very seriously. The experience is continuous between the desktop and the tablet. For all its media-heavy intensity, Jux is a responsive design. This is no boring WordPress Onswipe theme for a blog. This is the publisher coming to life through every screen.
"We think this is really going to surprise and delight some people," says founder Ted Metcalfe. I think that's true. Even before the iPad launch, I found that Jux's in-your-face formats elicited some jarring, personal, intense content. I find browsing Jux refreshing, actually. Web content can be so sterile, polite, composed. Jux is like holding a megaphone up to the ear of Web 2.0 and shouting "BE INTERESTING!"
The iPad gestures take that further by making the experience more intuitive and exploratory, but the best part is that the content is actually exactly the same across platforms. "It's the exact same experience you'll have on the desktop going forward," Metcalfe says, "only totally touchable and that much better."
The six post types - BlockQuote, Article, Photo, Video, SlideShow, and CountDown - help Jux pre-define and format posts to suit their purposes. Some posts should focus on text, others should be a full image, half-page or whole-page, and so on. Metcalfe also says more post types are coming soon.
"It's totally HTML5 and Web-based," Metcalfe says. It supports all the videos, animations and fonts from the desktop version, and it handles rotation neatly (for the most part). There is no future Web without responsive design, and Jux is already there. The Boston Globe had to pay handsomely for this kind of responsive publishing. Jux is free, and it's no mere newspaper, either. No matter who you are or what you publish, Jux will handle that for you.
Visiting jux.com on the tablet takes you straight to the gallery screen. Every Jux has a tablet cover screen as an introduction that allows the publisher to put in a bio and add some links. Yeah, you know About.me and Flavors.me? That's just the cover of a Jux.
"It has that kind of quality of a portfolio or an album," Metcalfe says. And that's what a blog is in theory, right? It's chronology of your past work. Compare the experience of scrolling back through a typical blog to that of swiping through Jux portfolios in the gallery.
Inside, each Jux has a swipe-able table of contents. That's your Flipboard, Onswipe, Pressly, take your pick. Everyone realizes how important tablet publishing is. That's why so many services are climbing over themselves to take care of tablet formatting so publishers don't have to. But unlike those services, Jux really knows what content it's serving, because it's all made right inside Jux. From top to bottom, Jux knows how to show off the stuff people make with it.
The tablet gestures are mostly what you're used to, and there are subtle clues for the unusual ones. There's a diagonal swipe to move through SlideShow and CountDown posts, which is indicated by a small arrow in the corner. It also uses a pinch-out gesture to go back to the gallery.
One challenge for all tablet apps is teaching users any new gestures. Jux doesn't want reminders to get in the way of the experience. "We're assuming people know the basic iPad gestures," Metcalfe says. But it uses subtle cues when appropriate, and it also offers alternative navigation options like on-tap menus in less intuitive situations.
Life After Blogging
"It's tough making a Web app scream on the iPad," Metcalfe says. "We can always package this up as a dedicated app and get a little more speed out of it that way... but what we really want to do is be cross-platform, instant publishing, no download. We're here for the leading edge of individual content creators. We think it's the right overall technical strategy to be everywhere with a responsive design."
Jux is radical. Publishers who are established on other platforms would have to reinvent themselves to take advantage of it. But Metcalfe wants Jux to be for the next wave. "Whetting appetites by pushing the medium is our MO," he says.
Let me put it this way: Can your content management system publish any kind of post type you can dream of in a dynamic, Web-standard, responsive format with all the touch gestures a toddler wants it to have? Ours can't. Jux can.
Up Next: Mobile Jux
There's no posting or editing from the tablet yet, but Metcalfe says it's almost ready. That let me down, but Metcalfe was ready with a response that made it all better: The existing editing tools (which you can see in the previous post) will work on the tablet soon, but Jux is also building dedicated mobile apps for capturing and posting from anywhere.
Try it out. Visit jux.com on your iPad and browse the gallery.
What are some of the best responsive Web designs you've ever seen?