I’ve been using the Bloomberg BusinessWeek iPad App for about a month now and I have to say I prefer it hands down to reading the physical magazine. Mostly because BusinessWeek did not simply try to re-create the BusinessWeek experience on the iPad, instead they re-invented it.
The Interface and Usability
Upon opening the app you will see the cover of the current edition. Swipe left and you are brought to the “Highlights” page where all the sections of the sections are available for you to jump to and read. Each section is color coated and this color metaphor is carried out through the app. All tech stories have red labels for example.
Obviously jumping to sections is time consuming when you have to thumb through pages to get there, which is why digital editions of these magazines are so nice. Having the sections at the top makes it very easy to jump to your favorite section. Mine is the tech section of course, however I sorely miss reading articles from Steve Wildstrom.
Touching a section header from the top takes you directly to that section and all the articles in the selected section.
Right below the headers, dead center, on the Highlights page is a video feature that showcases the behind the scenes story of the creation of each edition. These were interesting but definitely not as interesting as the articles themselves.
Below the video are selected stories from each section. Simply touching a story takes you right to the article.
Using the app is quite simple and intuitive. The color coded labels for sections is slick and makes it easy to associate articles with the sections they belong in.
There were several key features I thought were particularly useful. The first is a related content tab that shows up subtly on the right side of an article you are reading. When you click this tab a slider block of content slides out and shows you related content to the article you are reading. It could be stock quotes of the companies mentioned or any related news articles. This was helpful to take readers down the rabbit hole of content discovery.
Another feature that I thought was quite useful was how the app presented the full contents of each edition. In the upper left hand corder is an icon that looks like a drop down menu. When you click it, a menu slides out and shows you each section and each article in that section in a list view.
This made it very easy to start browsing all the articles in each section from the very start.
Clipping of articles was another feature that I appreciated. On the left hand side of each article are a series of tabs that let you share the article VIA email, Facebook or Twitter, edit the font size and clip the article. All your clipped articles are saved and accessed by a paper clip icon in the upper right hand corner of the app.
The last feature I thought was well implemented was the ease of use to get to past issues. At the bottom of the app is an “Issues” link, which upon clicking brings up all the issues you have downloaded. This makes it very easy to jump back and forth between editions. Many other magazine apps normally make you exit the edition you are reading to get to a home screen where you can then select which edition to read.
There is very little wrong with the implementation of BusinessWeek on the iPad. The only feature I wished it had was the ability to clip text as well as full articles. Sometimes I just want a section of text or a quote rather than the whole article.
What I liked the most was how the user interface was built in a way so that no matter where you are in the app you could very quickly get to any section, piece of content, menu or edition. To say that I prefer reading BusinessWeek on the iPad to the print edition would be an understatement.