inessential by Brent Simmons

Clearing up a possible misunderstanding

I’ve discovered there may have been some misunderstanding of my recent posts on websites and reading: The Pummeling Pages, Pub Rules, and The Readable Future.

I meant to make it clear that I was writing to the people who make websites.

I was not advocating smartphone apps or Newsstand apps as a way for them to fix their problems. My entire purpose was to advocate for really great websites that I love visiting in my browser.

In fact, I’ll propose three rules for prospective Newsstand app authors:

  1. You’re not allowed to write a Newsstand app until your website rocks.

  2. You’re not allowed to require someone to use the Newsstand app version of your site when they’re on a phone or iPad.

  3. You’re not allowed to use obtrusive (article-obscuring) ads on your own site for your Newsstand app version.

If you still want to write a Newsstand app, after the above, then cool — do it. Make sure it’s as awesome as your website but also has a clear reason for existing.

(Hopefully it’s clear that I’m using Newsstand both specifically and as shorthand for all native apps, designed to replace your website, that run on smartphones and tablets.)