Tag Archives: newspapers

Redesigning Penn Station

Earlier this year I wrote a post about indie podcasting and the mistake of centralized publishing, comparing it to the lesson from the demolition of Penn Station in New York City. That train station can never be returned to what it was, but the city hasn’t given up on updating it. Here’s the New York Times with an idea to turn it into a beautiful space again:

Just as the new Amtrak train hall for Farley, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, reuses the catenary structure of the building’s original trusses to bring in natural light, this plan foresees a sunny public space, open to the street, framing views of Farley, its height dwarfing Grand Central Terminal’s main concourse. It reclads the arena’s facade with double-skin glass, doing away with doors into and out of the building, letting commuters, long lost in the existing warren, know where they are and see where they’re going.

It’s a nice article with photos and diagrams. I hope to see something like this new Penn Station on a future trip to New York City.

The Daily

“David Barnard chimes in”:http://davidbarnard.com/post/5649151852/orchestrating-magic on The Daily:

“The carousel is a fun bit of UI (at least in theory, it’s still a bit laggy and jittery for my taste), but there’s just no way to quickly deliver enough content to make the carousel usable. The front page and table of contents, on the other hand, could likely be fully delivered in the 4-5 seconds from the launch of the app to the end of the launch animation. Sending users directly to the front page (or potentially a redesigned table of contents, but I wont get into that) will make it feel as though the app has been magically filled with content.”

David makes some great points. Put another way, if some of their design decisions were too ambitious for their technical plumbing to keep up with, they should update the design and optimize it for speed. With such a mainstream app, though, you can’t really win. I’m sure if it was only fast and not fancy, it would have been criticized as too bland.

The initial criticism of “The Daily”:http://www.thedaily.com/ always seemed overblown to me. It’s not perfect, but they got some of the difficult things right: navigation that makes sense, original content, good layout, clear subscription model.

Off and on for the first few weeks, I would read several articles each day in The Daily. There were a couple crashes and glitches, but nothing that made the app unusable. If no one else had been complaining, I’m not sure I would have noticed anything so wrong it was worth mentioning.

They can make it faster and polish up the rough edges over a few subsequent bug fix releases. And maybe enough of the fundamentals are right that they can get pretty far even without the design changes David suggests.

Now that I’ve “written a few e-book apps”:http://www.vitalsource.com/, I can say with certainty that getting the basics right is more challenging than it looks. Other traditional companies moving their content to the iPad have launched much farther off-course than The Daily.