The Wall Street Journal has their iPhone App all Wrong
The new Wall Street Journal iPhone app from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

This is the first video in this series great series by Nieman Labs where I've really disagreed with Alan Murray. His logic that "when you're done, you're done" with a newspaper just doesn't hold. Especially with a paper like the Journal that is intended to have a huge depth of information. I'd predict that very few people actually sit down with the paper for 45 minutes to get that 'completed' experience.

Further, regardless of either of our opinion on print, the iPhone is a different medium as Mr. Murray points out. It's not a blackberry, but it's certainly not print! With constant web access and push notifications coming in full force with iPhone OS 3.0, why limit your app to the 'you're done' feeling?

Instead, recognize that a cell phone, and an iPhone in particular is a uniquely customizable experience. Especially for a paper like the WSJ, which is trying to follow the freemium model, that want for customization is something that can be capitalized on.

Allow users to select what kind of business news they want to receive, maybe even allow them to pick stocks to have news alerts on. Heck, you could even micro-charge for that feature, 15 cents for every company you track, 3 bucks for each industry. Then, deliver them the news on that particular topic, instantly. Use push, use the notification system of the phone to alert them of the most important stuff.

Utilizing the iPhone medium the way it's intended to be used (it is opinionated design after all) is really the only way to have good odds at a successful app. Mobile is and is increasingly a huge deal for the media industry. It would be great to see someone get it right.

The Wall Street Journal has their iPhone App all Wrong

Joey Baker

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I write code most days. Prevously: photojournalist, EMT. Somewhat obsessed with jouralism.