“At first glance it looked archaic, like PDFs crammed into a too-small screen. But within seconds, intuition took over, and I quickly saw there was tons of functionality. I could zoom into articles and, once I clicked onto one I wanted to read, the reading interface was more like the eye-friendly Web page The Times delivers,” I gushed at the time. “The Globe iPad app, which lets me sweep through the pages like a traditional newspaper, does a better job of giving me a balanced news diet – without the hassle of getting ink stains on my finger tips.”
But within the past few weeks there’s been about 60-40 odds that I will get a complete, readable and usable version of the iPad paper each morning. Today the entire sports section was missing. On Sunday, there were not section breaks, meaning I had to scroll through each page of the paper (I ended up using the print version, which I still ge on Sundays: the Globe charges less for Sunday delivery, which includes access to the paid Website and iPad edition than it does for an online-only edition). Last week there was an entire issue where I could not access the articles by clicking on them, meaning I had to zoom in to read them and lost access to all the digital functionality, like sharing and rating articles, that I raved about in April.
I have no inside info on what’s going on or why the paper has consistently been so inconsistent over the past month or so. But the message that the Globe is sending o readers (readers it wants to embrace its rather bold push to move content behind a paywall) is that digital remains an afterthought. That quality standards are not enforced when it comes to its iPad products the same way they are with its print (and hopefully its Web) editions.
The reason I’m posting this here? Because I’m not sure where to direct my complaint: the Globe’s Website only gives me a customer service number to call if I missed delivery of today’s paper, not if today’s delivery of the iPad edition was messed up. That needs to change: this is a product I’m paying for and if newspapers want people to continue to pay for digital content, they need to be responsive to problems (or, better yet, put in some sort of quality control to prevent the problems in the first place).