Interview: Leeds Student arrives on iPad
This newspaper is the first student publication in the country to offer an iPad edition of each issue. LS Tech spoke with Jack Dearlove, Leeds Student digital editor and developer of the app, to find out more:
Leeds Sudent: What does the iPad app offer?
Jack Dearlove: The Leeds Student iPad edition is a complete digitalisation of the newspaper 15,000 students enjoy every week.
LS: How did you find developing the app?
JD: Pretty easy really. We worked with the same software that we use to build the paper every week, so everything is built from a designer’s, rather than a developer’s point of view. The aim is to make the app easy to use, and very similar to the paper, it’s still Leeds Student, just without the ink.
LS: Are there any plans to make the app available for Android or Windows 8 tablets?
JD: Unfortunately not in the near future. If the tool we were using to build the app added support for Android we might think about it. But the iPad is the clear leader in the tablet market and the app will have to prove itself here before we look at more platforms. And because screen sizes aren’t universal throughout the series of Android tablets, and already different to the iPad, we’d have to rework the paper for tablet more than once, which wouldn’t be realistic since there are only two of us working on the project at the moment.
LS: How does the iPad app sit alongside the Leeds Student website and web app for smartphones?
JD: It’s something extra for people to enjoy, the website and web app allow you to access our latest journalism where ever you are. The iPad app is for enjoying on a break or on a train journey back home like you might do with the printed newspaper. It’s all the same product, just delivered differently.
LS: This app puts Leeds Student alongside The Guardian and Metro in the iOS Newsstand store. Are you hoping this will give Leeds Student a wider readership?
JD: We’re certainly going to make a massive fuss of it. And if it means some Leeds Alumni can carry on reading the paper they used to make a habit of picking up that’s amazing. But when we were building every iPad issue we only have one audience in mind: the students of Leeds.
LS: The majority of students don’t have an iPad or tablet at this time, do you see this changing in the future? Will tablets replace laptops for students?
JD: That’s very true, although we do get a good handful of hits to our website through iPads every day. But this is just version 1, and the beginning of a project that could see the Leeds Student become the first student newspaper to go digital only… at some point.
LS: With tablets and eReaders becoming the future of books, do you see these as a threat to the printed newspaper as well?
JD: If you download the preview issue with the iPad app have a read of the special edition of the ‘Big Debate’ entitled ‘Is Print Dead?’. But there will always be a role for professional journalists, even when we’re eventually living on the mood.
The Leeds Student iPad app is out now and available for free on the App Store. – Click here to download