The New York Times is launching a new responsive Web app built with HTML5. The New York Times daily “Today’s Paper” Web app provides digital subscribers of Times an app accessible through a browser on tablets or desktops with as close an approximation to the layout and content of the printed paper as possible.
The problem? The “Today’s Paper” Web app misses the point of responsive design, a design concept that allows developers to create websites that run on any screen size on just about any device.
“Today’s Paper” supports browsers for desktops and tablets including Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer. It does not support Firefox or Opera on any tablet or the native Android browser on devices that do not use Chrome. “Today’s Paper” will not work for the Silk browser on a Kindle Fire. The Web app is not optimized for a smartphone.
While the Times new Web app does support the three major browsers from Apple, Google and Microsoft, it loses some of the advantages of employing an HTML5 responsive design by not being able to support Firefox or Silk and to be optimized for smartphones.
The app features all the sections of the Times with articles and photos found in the print edition as well as some video. Times digital subscribers can access a week’s worth of Times paper editions and offers offline access.
“Soon after we launched our experimental Web App we discovered that Today’s Paper was one of the most popular sections,” said Denise Warren, executive vice president of digital products and services at the Times in a press release. “This new reading experience is the next step in our ongoing process to develop new and valuable digital products that offer our subscribers other innovative ways to access our content.”
“Today’s Paper” replaces the New York Times Web app for iPad which has been in beta since September.
The move to a responsive Web app for digital subscribers closely mirrors the decision of the Boston Globe to release a responsive version of its paper for its digital subscribers in 2011. BostonGlobe.com (which compliments the Globe-owned Boston.com) was one of the first major newspapers in the United States to release a responsive version of its paper edition as a standalone website built on HTML5. The Financial Times made an infamous decision a couple of years ago to eschew an app in Apple’s App Store for a Web-based HTML5 responsive website.