How to improve The Economist on the iPhone
This is a review of the current state of the economist’s iPhone app and audio edition access. I mostly detail what I believe needs improvement.
The Audio Edition (In iTunes)
Some months back the The Economist totally dropped the ball and discontinued delivery of the audio edition though iTunes. After a few months the service was restored but in an inferior format.
Bring back the ability to receive the entire magazine as one podcast file, instead of one file for each section. iTunes will only download one section of the newspaper’s podcast automatically. In addition when manually downloading the rest of the files most people will need to baby sit the downloads. Downloading more then three at a time will result in timeouts of the other files in the queue.
In the past this functioned automagically. I would click refresh in iTunes and walk away; when I came back the entire audio edition would be available.
Bring back the ability to customize your subscription download. Right now since you are forced to manually download the economist it is not a big deal to exclude sections you don’t listen to. (Yes I’m talking about you Britain…)
In the past, you could check off what sections you wanted included in your download and your custom selection was bundled for you into one file. This was great. Please bring this back.
The iPhone App
I have no complaints about reading on the device. I might like the ability to create bookmarks but overall more interested in the addition of social features.
As is I have no complaints. The print edition has them. Any greater frequency of ads though would though become annoying. Ads on a device have more weight then in print.
The audio functionality is crude. Not being able to play audio at 2x speed or greater makes listening to the entire newspaper costly. There is a large difference between 3 ½ and 7 hours.
I suggest taking a look at the audible app for the iPhone and copying what they do well.
If I am reading digitized text should I not have functions? Give me all the abilities offered in the feedly app for the iPhone. You already provide a subset of these features when reading articles at economist.com. Don’t forget Tumblr and giving users the ability to tweet highlighted text.