Download time a big drawback to Martha Stewart food iPad app

Apr 14, 2011
Shine

Martha Stewart is the queen of homemaking, and while her crafts and cuisine can be complicated, the business magnate also embraces the amateur cook with her publication Everyday Food. To my distaste, I found myself more frustrated with than enamored of Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine. The content of Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine is […]

Martha Stewart is the queen of homemaking, and while her crafts and cuisine can be complicated, the business magnate also embraces the amateur cook with her publication Everyday Food. To my distaste, I found myself more frustrated with than enamored of Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine.

The content of Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine is fine, but, as much as I took the SELF Magazine app to task recently, Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine hasn’t considered the full user experience in its download and installation function. Although I loved that Martha gives everyone one issue of Everyday Food to download in its entirety free, I hated that I had to give up iPad access for almost 30 minutes to acquire it (file size: 293 MB). Worse, the latest issue, April 2011, clocked in at 46 minutes for downloading and installing its huge 579 MB size. Everyday Food doesn’t support background downloading, you can’t read the issue as it downloads, and you can’t browse other issues. When I accidentally left the app in the middle of its download, it lost almost 50 MB on its counter, so proceed with caution. It’s just so frustrating to see such an oversight and lack of end user experience from a company like Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia that has embraced the concept of a digital presence (Stewart’s brand has seven apps in the store).

Overall, I found the digital extras in the Martha Stewart Everyday Food to be just OK. I liked the step-by-step video recipe tutorials, but I thought it strange that the ingredient list checkboxes couldn’t actually be checked — this seems like a missed opportunity. In addition to flipping pages side to side, the app is also built top to bottom, with new content pulling up from the bottom. This isn’t always indicated, so I could see users missing out on content. Looking through the April issue, I’m not sure what content caused the file size to be so large, but my guess is the animated pages that started each feature. These did not run smoothly, as the app first loaded the static image, followed by the screen turning black (as in, did this app just crash?) and then launching the animation.

Everyday Food also only works in portrait mode. Typically, I wouldn’t fault magazine apps for not supporting landscape mode — reading a digital publication should mimic the feel of reading a print copy, and I certainly don’t turn magazines on their sides. But with Martha Stewart Everyday Food cooking and recipes are truly the focal point, and most iPad stands function with the device in landscape mode. I prefer to use the iPad horizontally for cooking, simply because the instructions appear larger in other apps, so MSLO really should provide this option for customers who prefer the same.

Like most magazine apps, Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine provides neither a digital subscription package nor support for print subscribers.

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