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Review: The Globe and Mail App for iPad

by on August 24th, 2010

If you’re anything like me in the morning you roll over, unplug your iPad from the charger and see what’s happening in the world.

I have a pretty reliable system: first I check Facebook, then Twitter then The Globe & Mail app.

What sets The Globe & Mail apart from more established news apps is its uniquely Canadian perspective on the news.

The app does a great job of displaying top stories, while giving a nice overview of second tier ones below. News sections are laid out on the bottom left allowing you to browse without leaving the home screen. The layout uses the strengths of both portrait and landscapes to its advantage, utilizing each to maximum efficiency.

But it’s the photos section where this app really shines.

Much like the Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog, the Globe & Mail app features a rich gallery of photographs from around the world. Each image loads quickly and smoothly and with a tap you can reveal its description. The selection of photographs is simply stunning. Sometimes awe-inspiring, sometimes gut wrenching in their snapshots of the world around us.

That’s not to say there aren’t a few problems though.

At times the app can be quite slow to initially load, and the default missing image thumbnail is often peppered throughout the home screen. Images within stories can’t be blown up for closer inspection and I came across a few 404 errors while browsing stories.

Also, depending on how long the article is, the advertising is displayed at the expense of readability. The ad placement squanders a huge section of the screen real estate, relegating the news story to a narrow column for reading. Longer articles keep you scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.

Overall, this app really fills the gap in Canadian news coverage needed on the iPad. The developers tell me that they are looking into adding video stories, and evolving the interface over time as they learn more about how users are interacting with the iPad in general.

Canadian users, do think the Globe and Mail has a hit or miss on their hands? Are there improvements you’d like to see made to the app?

Dan Gaede is an Art Director living in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter @dangaede

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Posted under: App Store, Reviews

  • http://www.thelittlethings.ca Dan

    After using the app for a while, I’ve gotten used to the ads…sort of. Hopefully one of the things they evolve over time is a better way of implementing them.

  • David

    The ad implementation kills it for me. Overall, they've done an excellent job in letting me actually browse content in a way that the web site doesn't permit (just swipe to the next story) but I can't get past the amount of space those ads take, and the animation that is repeated on the same page as the same ad loads.

  • Aloombox

    It's not bad, but needs a big change and that is, changing the content more often! Agreed the photos section is good and a few other useful implementations make it overall a nice app. It's not the Guardian, but close.

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