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The Age app 2021-01-10 09:39:57

We all have a war story about our user experience with software and the disappointment we have felt when it is just not right. For me, it is 'The Age' newspaper iPad app. I have been a digital subscriber to ‘The Age’ newspaper in Melbourne for many years. As a tech-head, adopting digital, rather than printed news made sense and I was happy to pay a fee.

This year 'The Age' has adopted a new platform for their digital news, and I suspect they have built it to develop and upgrade their apps easily and in a cost-effective manner. The new iPad app has become like the iPhone app, where the home page is limited to the top ten news items, and if you want to see more news, users are required to curate their own news pages through preferences. No longer can you scroll down the page in the iPad app and click on a news item of your choice.

My point is that they had a great app for many years, but this new app is a regressive step. I don't know how they could have got it so wrong.

I think I am going to jump ship and go and read 'The Guardian' instead.

More from Peter Dannock

I really despise when a product or app has been nailed, and the creators insist on messing with it. I guess people think there are always more features/functionality to add, but then fine spin it off to something else and leave the original alone. I have a Harmony remote I purchased around 9 years ago that is the best universal remote I've ever had. I have an old MacBook that is the only one that still has the software that can update the remote when I change a device in my entertainment system. The remote was discontinued, and the new ones are terrible. 
2021-01-10 18:37:16
This conversation reminds me that life comes in waves. It is awesome when you can catch one to surf and ride for a time. But I doubt it would serve us to think the waves should remain unchanged.
2021-01-10 19:27:41
When creators try to improve their products, I think they often find it impossible to improve without making drastic cascading changes. 

In these circumstances are you @brandon and @peter fans of the Basecamp approach? They usually just spin off a new version of a project and leave the old ones alone except for security/bug fixes. This approach is actually quite rare. If you look at the most popular services usually they stick with the same domain either facebook.com or twitter.com or instagram.com and continuously update that one service and only offer one version of it.

With basecamp theey have all three versions on separate urls and you can actually use all three, albeit on separate projects. In fact they are working on Basecamp 4 now.
2021-01-10 22:19:02
abrahamKim
 Yes, I like that approach. I also like the ability to revert to a "classic" mode if it's a total revamp.
2021-01-10 22:24:59
abrahamKim
 - that versioning approach seems so reasonable for software services. I know I've been asked for an older version of AppZapper on occasion and was quickly able to send it over. I hope you d v1/ v2/ v3 etc. with Adagia. It might be fun to post to some old UI 10 years from now.
2021-01-11 04:38:54
I like this idea too. I bet you a lot of developers too. 

I imagine the main struggle to be not being able to discern exactly when a revamp has begun. In retrospect it might be easy to say here and there are when revamp of new version started, but proactively I bet it's hard.

@Peter you've had a lot of experience developing products, what's your experience in this?
2021-01-11 17:32:41
My experience is with larger applications, so all our products are released in versions. My users have a prolific need for new and updated functionality. Give me them a classic option can create a inertia for users who like a particular version and don’t want to upgrade.
2021-01-11 23:54:22
Yes, I think Apple is doing an amazing job of forcing their users to upgrade. Not only have they figured out the software complacency issues, they almost had the hardware figure out as well -- until people realized they were being had. ( Of course your hardware is slowing down - how else do we train you to upgrade? )
2021-01-13 06:09:07