June 2nd, 2010
WIRED Magazine’s iPad Application sold 24,000 copies in 24 hours and quickly secured the weekly #1 position on iTunes. While the general iPad population praised the app, interactive designers and digital agencies were quick to dismiss it as nothing more than a flip book with lame interactive features peppered into the content.
One of the harshest reviews came from Information Architects Inc (iA), a highly respected user experience, information architecture, and strategy firm located in Japan and Switzterland. At Martin Ashal we read and reference their literature often when designing our own solutions. Their review of the Wired application is well supported and almost lays a constructive road map for Wired to improve the current application for future releases.
iA discusses the use of two column design, “non screen” fonts, mixing fonts, unnecessary design ornaments and page ad integration. The one verse two column argument is exceptional and is reinforced with a diagram highlighting user confusion on almost every page of the WIRED app.
While we agree with many of the criticisms in the article, iA’s view is limited to the initial launch and focuses solely on the user experience, not the broader marketing strategy. WIRED did produce and sell over 24,000 applications before many publishers released an iPad application, and WIRED executives have emphasized that additional features and improvements will be rolled out in coming months.
We think WIRED did a great job in being first to market with a somewhat “interactive” iPad app. They sold thousands of apps, generated enormous hype and may have even gained a few new customers. Similar to technology gadgets, future issues of the app will continue to improve just enough to keep us buying the next issue.