May 21, 2014 Last Updated 8:03 am

First look: Ottawa Citizen’s new afternoon iPad edition, with its magazine look and feel

Postmedia Network’s new iPad app uses the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to create a tablet edition rich in interactivity, designed in landscape for leisure-time reading

The first tablet edition inside the new Newsstand app for the Ottawa Citizen appeared late yesterday afternoon. The iPad app, part of Postmedia Network’s new “four-platform strategy” for the newspaper, was built using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, and looks very much like some digital magazines seen inside the Newsstand. The difference is that this digital edition will be appear at 6PM ET Monday through Friday.

OC-iPad-frontYesterday the new app, Ottawa Citizen for iPad, was released into the Newsstand without a daily edition but with a promotional feature that explained the newspaper’s new strategy. (For a video of that feature, click here.)

In short, the strategy revolves the reading habits of subscribers and the devices they prefer to use during the course of the day. It begins with the morning print newspaper, moves to desktop and mobile applications, and ends with tablet reading. Late in the day tablet reading, it is expected to be more leisurely, so what is called for is a more magazine-like approach to a newspaper tablet edition, and that is what the Ottawa Citizen delivers with this new iPad app.

Designed in landscape, the designers clearly could add more multimedia material to this first issue than might be the case going forward. An ad for the camera store Henry’s and a feature on the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube being good examples.

Other articles are laid out in a simpler, easier to replicate fashion such as the feature on Cindy Gibson. This story, and ones that follow, design for separate tablet pages which one scrolls to reach the next page.

OC-iPad-TOCThe app may have a bug that will need to be worked out (maybe). On the “front page” (and elsewhere) there is a live news feed, tapping a headline takes one to the story which is online, out of the app. The problem is that I couldn’t keep the page open long enough to read anything as the app kept closing the window.

The digital edition managed to work in advertising of less than full page is size, which was nice to see.

On an older iPad the digital edition proved smooth, with only the online bug seen (and that may not be a bug, but an issue with my device). The app itself weighs in a 28.6 MB when installed, and the documents and data show 202 MB has been used by the app so far – that would be yesterday’s first edition, plus the promotional piece. Adobe DPS is known for producing large files so this is pretty modest, but readers who use the app every day will eventually need to remove issues from their iPad to free up space (and the platform allows for this, as well as auto archiving).

When The Daily first appeared a few years ago many media critics were not very pleased with the magazine feel for the Rupert Murdoch daily tablet newspaper. I’m sure those same writers will feel the same about this new tablet edition, unless their views have matured over the past couple of years. The team at the Ottawa Citizen know what they are trying to accomplish and I think they have succeeded so far.


Here is the follow-up video which walks through a portion of the first digital edition inside Ottawa Citizen for iPad:

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