New NYT Online Reader is simple… perhaps too simple

Click for full-screen shot

Click for full-screen shot

Via TechCrunch, The New York Times has a prototype online of a new article skimming system. They’re still kicking around names, but “article skimmer” is a very straightforward description of what it is. After trying it out for a little bit this morning, I find it to be very clean and simple. But as a tablet user, I’m finding it to be a little too simple.


First, I like the look of the reader a lot. Looks beautiful in fullscreen (as in my screenshot). I think they nailed the feel of browsing through a newspaper without losing the convenience of linking. The menu is straightforward. The transitions are smooth and natural. The navigation is as simple as point-and-click. Unfortunately, point-and-click isn’t all that natural for me.

To go back and forward between pages, there are buttons marked “previous” and “next”. Makes sense, but navigation via gestures or pen flicks don’t work. In a tabbed interface, it’s easy enough to open full articles in new tabs and navigate normally from there, but that takes you out of the reader, defeating its purpose.

Tried to test it on my iPhone, but it wouldn’t load, though it wouldn’t load on my desktop either. Obviously still some bugs to work out, but it looks great. If they work in better pen and touch control, I’d like it even more.