New York Times app

New York Times app for iOS first time user experience

The good bits

  • The New York Times typically requires a subscription.  But on its website and, in this case, its mobile app, new users can read up to 10 articles per month without an account.  This is a great example of a free sample, in which a new user can discover a product’s value proposition for herself through direct interaction, all before being required to register for an account.
  • The app immediately brings the user to content instead of subjecting her to an introductory tour or other obtrusive education. Instead, education is sprinkled around the app in the form of inline cues, such as hints to swipe horizontally to navigate between sections or articles.
  • The app also uses inline cues as education on empty states of the app, such as the informative text provided on the empty state of the “Saved for Later” section that tells the new user how to save articles she likes.

To be improved

  • When the new user downloads this app on iOS, it gets added to the iOS Newsstand app. This means there is no NYT icon on the main app screen, which can be disconcerting for a new user who may be looking for it there.  The only way a user can open her new app is to either figure out on her own that it lives in the Newsstand app, or go back to the download screen in the App Store and open it from there.
  • The new user is instructed to swipe to navigate between news sections. However, there are many, many sections, but no indication of where a user is within the section list.