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'Design for the finger'

Credit: Image by Thinkstock

People who read tablet news apps want three things: they want news updates, curated content, and they like PDFs of the print edition.

Those are the key lessons of the last six months, according to Mario Garcia, chief executive and founder of García Media, based in the US, who spoke at the Tablet and App Summit today in Berlin.

And people want news from a newspaper company, he said, in reference to the first point about news updates.

Below are five tablet apps from news publishers which, in his view, "hit the spot":

The Times

The Times previously offered a "newspaper tablet", Garcia said, mirroring the print offering. The app now offers updates in the evening, illustrating the point by showing how a fashion report was added later in the day. "You need tablet-friendly stories," he said, those with images, video and interactivity.

La Presse+

La Presse+ – an app with a $40 million investment behind it – "is one of the most beautiful ones", Garcia said. And it is one that "has influenced print" in that La Presse, the Canadian newspaper which built the free app, has modified its print newspaper as a result of the development.


Danish publication Berlingske offers evening and morning editions for readers via a tablet. The app includes pictorial navigation, something which Garcia said works well on tablets. All journalists write for digital first, he explained, saying they think in terms of audio and video rather than solely considering a story as a print copy story.

Evening Pilot

The Evening Pilot from US title The Virginia Pilot is another picture-led news app, and one praised by Garcia.


Norwegian title VG has created a tablet app that is "easy to navigate and does not imitate print", Garcia said.

“This is more elegant that the print edition of the newspaper," he added.

'Design for the finger'

“You must design for the finger,” he said, explaining how people like to navigate through an app, adding that "the stationary finger is an unhappy finger".

Garcia also gave the ingredients for a successful app: storytelling; navigation; the look and feel of the app; and pop-ups, a way publishers can "keep the finger happy" and let people explore content.

Here are 10 tablet lessons from Garcia shared in 2011. is at the World Publishing Expo in Berlin. Follow @SarahMarshall3 / @johncthompson / #wpe13 for updates. The 'live notes' of today's sessions are at this link.

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