Don’t worry. I’m not going to bore you with a long-winded post detailing my thoughts on the iPad. I’ll just say that yes, I believe it’s a game-changer because it will hyper-personalize the experience a person has when interacting with media and change the times and places at which they do so.
But that’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m writing to beg Editors and Publishers to keep the print guys away from the iPad app development process.
God knows, they will want to get involved. After all, in the eyes of many a print staffer, the digital folks have already screwed everything up. They gave it all away for free, let Google, Arianna and Tina “steal” content and diminished the authority of professional journalism by encouraging readers to comment on articles and expecting writers to respond. Print guys believe the digital guys broke the print model through carelessness and overly optimistic, dreamy-eyed decision-making.
But the iPad could be a different story.
The format and shape of the iPad feels comfortable and familiar to print guys. And for that reason, they will think they know how to design for it despite having little or no digital product experience. They will want to lay out pages the way they do in a newspaper or magazine. They will want to charge per article or figure out a subscription model that can be included in their ABC numbers. They will want to keep reader interaction, community and linking to a minimum.
In short, they will kill any chances of real innovation. Don’t let them do it.
Get a couple great developers, a product manager, a smart ad sales person and some enthusiastic digital editors and designers and send them away for a few weeks. Don’t give them any rules. See what they come back with. It will likely be something you could never have thought of. And, it just might blow your socks off.