Die Zeit has launched an iPad-optimised version of its website, Zeit Online, the paper reported, to account for the fact that the tablet device uses touch navigation. The iPad-site is just a first step, the paper said, and versions for additional devices will be developed when they become big enough in the German market.
One of the changes is to put much larger touch spaces around text links. Another is to allow finger swipes through slide shows. "The overall design asks for a strict reduction down to a site's very essence for users to quickly find their way around," a blog posting said.
The content will not change, the posting said, specifying that "A core editorial request in regards to our new iPad-site was that our newsdesk would not have to think of different sites, but could focus on one identical sequence and presentation of ZEIT ONLINE's topics, no matter which device they appear on."
Wolfgang Blau explained in an interview with Werben und Verkaufen magazine that there are some users who prefer apps, but there are also some who use the iPad for online surfing and like to use the browser, and "we want to make attractive offers to both user types." The advantages of the paid app include the digital edition of Die Zeit, other paid-for online content and other features which are not available on the website. The idea is that the app and the optimized site will complement one-another, Blau said: the app will link out to articles in the optimized site and the site will promote the app.
The optimized site was built in collaboration with Tokyo-based Information Architects. A posting on IA's site explained that the optimization was done in HTML5, and said that "it has been a demanding design process to get to the point of simplicity where it's at right now."
"There's no rational reason to neglect the most obvious iPad news platform: The website," IA said, noting, as Blau did, that a strong browser presence can promote the app and that developing an HTML based news app is cheaper, faster, and easy for the user.
Another project produced using HTML5 is an investigation funded by the Center for Public Integrity looking at the factors that are depleting the ocean of fish. It is designed to look more like an app even on a browser and adapts smoothly to any device on which it is viewed.
Will developing sites which are optimized for viewing become more common as HTML5 becomes more widely used?