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Images replace content in USA Today’s iOS app

Yesterday, I noticed that USA Today had a new iPad app out—they released it as a separate app, so it didn’t replace the old version. After trying the new app, I’m incredibly glad they chose to release the new version as a new app, because it sucks. Absolutely, positively, sucks.

Like the recent CNN redesign, USA Today has chosen to focus on pretty pictures instead of information. In other words, it’s become another news app that has decided not to show any news.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the old (left) and new (right) apps:

As you can see, the new app is dominated by one massive image, and very little of anything else. Here’s a quick comparison of just how bad things are in the new app:

Data points… Old App New App
Stories visible 6 3
Words shown 148 43
Weather visible Yes No
Navigation visible Yes No
Ads visible 0 1
Largest image on page 386×220 1024×475
% of page covered by image 10.70% 61.80%

If you’re scoring at home, which I am, the new app has a 50% reduction in the number of visible stories, and a 71% reduction in the number of words. And that insanely-huge ‘hero image’ covers nearly 62% of the page!

In addition, there’s no visible weather, and navigation between sections is now hiding in a hamburger menu. Overall, the usability of the app has gone from very good to basically worthless.

This is progress? I don’t think so. I’m staying with the old app, and giving the new one a one-star review on the App Store. Bad move, USA Today!

Updated: Mar 3 '17 — 11:43 pm

2 Comments

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  1. Agreed. It won’t even load on my iPad (which is current version). Deleted USA Today, screw them if they block working apps with ones that won’t load).

  2. Totally agree with you. Lately everything seems to be going like that – overly large images, huge white empty areas, CPU killer. Scroll, scroll, scroll… (I even see it in the new interface to manage my WD network drive – the old version summarized everything in one screenful with no scrolling involved. The new one has giant icons and buttons, glaring white space and requires constant scrolling…)

    A lot of these sites won’t even load anymore on my iPad… I’ve started to avoid them because of it. NPR and BBC still have usable sites, but I see some creepage…. Hopefully it’s just a silly temporary trend…

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