Wired for iPad May Issue Free. Content is Great. App Navigation is Still a Nightmare, However

When I looked at e-publications in Apple’s 200 top graossing apps last Friday, Wired Magazine sat at a respectable position 141 in the list.

14 Newspaper, Magazine & Comic Book Apps in iPad Top 200 Grossing List. But, Where’s TIME, Newsweek & National Geographic

Just a few hours after I published my blog item, I learned that Wired’s May 2011 issue was available for free in their iPad app.

Wired’s Newest iPad Issue Boasts Its Best Feature Yet: Free (via All Things Digital)

I had not looked at Wired for the iPad since purchasing its initial e-issue. As a fan of Wired’s print publication, I enjoyed the content as usual but hated the way the app worked so much that I never bought another e-issue. However, free is a good price. So, I downloaded the mammoth 380MB issue and took another look at Wired a year later.

As expected, Wired’s May 2011 issue’s contents are a great read. Here’s the title of one article that provides great research and commentary about one of my pet peeves: The Champagne of Office Supplies: What’s Inside Inkjet Cartridges. The article’s on-screen navigation, however, is as horrifying as the price of ink jet cartridges and serves as an example of what is wrong with Wired’s e-publication. I’ve grayed the section of the page with the instructions Swipe to read about more ingredients. Swiping the middle of the page where the ink cartridge is and, where I believe, most people would swipe results in nothing. Swiping the two-headed arrow icon above the text instructions results in nothing too. So, what do you swipe? I’ve grayed over the area where the actual article text is visible. This, it turns out, is in the equivalent (or perhaps actually is) an iFrame. You need to swipe this tiny portion of the screen to read the rest of the article.

There are lots of odd navigation design choices in this issue too. Swiping some article right-to-left to move to the next page results in a vertical page movement. Some full-page advertisements won’t let you swipe out of it at all. You need to tap the bottom of the display to bring up the issue scrubber to escape from the ad.

As a fan of Wired, I am very disappointed to say that I won’t be buying the next paid June iPad issue. If they have another free issue in 2012, I’ll take a look again then. Perhaps they will fix their navigation problems in the next year.