You can't scroll because I happen to think scrolling for reading is broken. Scrolling is a mechanism for micro-managing the position of content at a pixel level. As a creative producer, when I'm producing creative, I like this a lot. When I'm reading, I find it borderline exhausting; Scroll, re find position, think about when it's time to scroll again, do so, re find position. Did I scroll to far? So Skimmer uses pages whenever it can. You just activate "next", and there's more to read. "Next." "Next." "Next."
This wouldn't work at all for editing a photo. But if you haven't tried it for reading longform content, you really ought to try it.
Of course, if you really do like the classic web scrolling approach, you can just use nytimes.com, and neither I, nor anyone else at the Times would complain.
1) A 24x20 arrow is a tiny target compared to using a scroll wheel anywhere on the page. Scroll bars are also an infinitely wide target when the window is maximized. Fitts' Law and all that.
2) Scrolling requires a lower cognitive load on the user because they don't have to make a decision about turning a page and having everything they're looking at vanish. http://www.useit.com/alertbox/scrolling-attention.html
3) This one is just a bug. I had to reload Skimmer because the first time it came up the pages would not turn. The animation would play, then it would jump back to the first page. Not all the little article squares were loaded, so that may have had something to do with it. Opera 11.50 on Vista with 80% zoom.
4) Not scrolling, but navigation-related. The site doesn't play nicely with my back button. I had to click the close button in the upper left corner of the screen instead of clicking the back button. Confusing.
You can't be serious. This is one of the foremost expectations in the user experience, fortified by almost two decades of websites that have done it this way.
Nevertheless, if these folks do exist, they're in for a sore surprise if they upgrade to Lion.
Yet people still prefer to scroll. Think about that.
I love the implementation of the app and think the UI is very well thought out. I'm sure you already know this, but people love to criticize to feel important. Skimming the concerned replies, almost all are pedantic usability tradeoffs I'm sure you considered. So just wanted to say good job, dude.
Thanks for all the responses on this thread. I've found it incredibly interesting.
As interfaces get better, I believe the vertical scroll method will be preferred, because it allows the user to quickly skim, jump ahead, or reference previous content, within the same context.
To be fair, I had forgotten how different scrolling is with a traditional mouse. This design trade off (arrow keys and next buttons) is probably excellent for windows and traditional mouse users.
Bookmarking a page is also broken.
No. You can make scrolling mapping any operations you want. E.g. next article.
Looks like a backbonejs "router" could help with the issue. ;)
How hard is it to bind those keys to the "next page" event that is fired by the little arrow? (haven't checked the code, but I assume something like that going on).
Arrow keys - As it is :)
Spacebar - Scroll down
J - Go down the sections
K - Go up the sections
F - Hide sidebar
R - Refresh
T - Top News
Btw this is what the chrome webstore App is, why is everyone shocked!??
Things get horribly broken with pages that have their own shortcuts too. For example, when I'm quickly pressing E (next tab) to see all my tabs and happen to find an open Gmail tab, it'll archive the message displayed, no questions asked.
Thankfully Gmail allows the user to disable such shortcuts, and there's always the "undo" button, but I'm not willing to hunt this option in every single website I visit.
I have the NYT page open right next to this one, and I get stuck whenever I come across it because none of my shortcuts work there.
I think individual websites shouldn't be able to dictate what I can or cannot do with my browser. It should be a browser option to ignore such shortcuts, but while that doesn't happen, be mindful of users like me.
If so, I strongly disagree with you. But I would agree that a browser's default configuration should be as unobtrusive as possible --but when configured it should meekly obey and not let websites act against your expressed will.
I would argue it is the web itself that is broken. At the very least, it's an infinite web, and there's room for an awful lot of stuff in there, even the parts you don't like or understand.
The advantage of moving sideways is that that's how every reading experience a user has ever experienced works, outside their computer. More importantly for us, it's how a newspaper works. The fact that this thing works a lot like a newspaper and they love it is something our customers literally won't shut up about.
For instance, what you are calling lag is the animation. Most people find computer navigation hostile because things move around and they don't know where they are going.
Animations give their brain time to process that things are changing. Research over the years suggests that most people think animated transitions are faster, even if they are technically slower.
In the case of scrolling, I find scrolling long documents a hostile user interface. It requires a great deal of user interaction and minute control over position. Pagination simply requires "next", "next", "next". I don't think every web site should work this way. But for long form content, it works a treat.
And for the record, I didn't use JS just because I could. I used it because it helped me solve my design goals.
Your aversion to scrolling seems like a personal preference. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't mean everybody feels that way, or should be denied scrolling.
In a distant past, books used to be scrolls, too ;-)
Scrolls are for scribes.
relatively soon after the arrival of paginated books,
public reading becomes commonplace.
Books (in the codex form, versus scrolls) were indeed very helpful in reading, the way dvd is an improvement over a cassette tape. It made navigation easier (reading in one case, listening in the other). So your example is indeed relevant to the point you are making, but not the way you made it. (IMHO.)
In fact, as far as reading is concerned, the primary advantage of the codex over the physical scroll was, conversely, also the main advantage of scrolling over pagination on the web: the ability to easily jump to any point in the text.
Most of your customers are comfortable with the default scrolling experience. Those that are not are older; they are not your future. The fact that you have to include navigation instructions for your page shows that you're breaking expectations.
> For instance, what you are calling lag is the animation. Most people find computer navigation hostile because things move around and they don't know where they are going.
I was actually referring to the lag I experienced when testing the site on an iPad. The scrolling is jittery, it is pretty smooth on desktop Chrome though.
> In the case of scrolling, I find scrolling long documents a hostile user interface. It requires a great deal of user interaction and minute control over position. Pagination simply requires "next", "next", "next". I don't think every web site should work this way. But for long form content, it works a treat.
We've had a solution for long documents in HTML forever: the fragment identifier. I've recently seen a few clever sites use a fixed position div to provide a table of contents that updates as you scroll down the page. I wish I could find one; the affect is gorgeous, and still conforms to the normal web UX (and degrades gracefully).
And you would be wrong. There's no problem with you creating an alternative design but claiming that the web or scrolling is broken is plain wrong and invites pointless controversy.
> that's how every reading experience a user has ever experienced works, outside their computer
You do realize that this view is outdated by 10-20 years?
You are certainly welcome to your opinions but to assert them as fact is presumptuous.
I would never use Skimmer on a PC but it's terrific on an iPad (to some extent because the NY Times app is so miserable).
Um...why not? I happen to quite like Flipboard-style magazine layouts. More importantly, why does anyone feel qualified to comment on what the web "should" be? The technology is powerful enough to accomodate new uses, and I call that room for innovation.
Any suggestions on the best way to read hacker news on iPad? I tried Flipboard and Feedly but not very happy with them.
This was actually first released in 2009  and then updated mid-year during 2010 . I use it every day, and it has not substantially changed since last summer.
I for one would like HN headlines to be clear, concise and include context :P
My inbox has been flooded over the years with effusive messages about how much people like the way this works. The only people I've ever seen complain about usability are on hacker news.
I think the meaning of the Gawker debacle might be open to interpretation without further data. For one thing, you should know that users with JS disabled make up a vanishingly small part of nytimes.com's readership.
And since Skimmer has enjoyed a largely enthusiastic response from readers, it stands to reason that most users are just fine with a js-heavy app. Most of our readers, anyway.
That said, if you hate this way of doing things, the entirety of nytimes.com is there for your classic web design enjoyment, and I certainly have no problem with your continuing to use it.
I would say maybe try the app for a while before you decide. Try the different layouts. Use the arrow keys. Try it on an iPad.
However, this unprofessional response from you does make me wary of it. A personal attack like this I feel was entirely uncalled for.
Using Google Chrome 12.0.742.122 on Mac OS 10.6
I have been waiting for this a long time, how come periodicals haven't done this before? (Or have they?)
they did new things but didn't broke old things. i like that approach better
• The article is a fundamentally bad unit of news for the internet. http://www.buzzmachine.com/2011/05/28/the-article-as-luxury-...
• Customization is one thing, but being able to choose from a dozen different layouts is a sign that none of them are likely right. Good design is about what's left out, not overflowing options.
• The complete lack of social/comments/human interaction is distrubing
newsmap.jp understands this principle and is a much better design. If only you could combine the hierarchy of newsmap with the typography, aesthetic, and interaction of the NYT skimmer...
I don't mind the lack of scrolling, but it would be nice if the mousewheel event was used for page flipping.
The articles do remind me a bit of the IHT (International Herald Tribune) from 10 years ago.
http://www.smokinggun.com/images/pages/page_22.swf (last slide)
At least that explains assorted dopey behavior.
Still, it isn't the first time I had a problem with the Google Chrome browser on my Google phone viewing something either made by, or made for, Googley things.
> I think quasi-static websites should at least
> have plain HTML fallback.
The website “http://www.nytimes.com” is requesting 10 MB of disk space to store “Stored content for nytSkimmerSections” as a database on your disk.
I'll pass on that.
This makes me sad.