The News Hour has a piece about how more users and publishers are taking to digital replica editions.
I haven’t personally used them, but I’ve seen demos. I don’t particularly like them. As a designer, I think they suffer from some usability issues.
But if some readers do like to use them, then this is a case where both the business side and the users can win.
I’m going to venture a guess, that digital replica users are most likely converts from the print product — probably in the older demographic range. If that’s the case, I can understand why they’re taking to them.
As an industry, we’ve trained generations of readers about our print edition’s user interface. The replica editions leverage the users past experience (albeit with some differences) with the ease of digital delivery.
I know some folks in the industry don’t like the replica editions — but in keeping with my different strokes view of electronic publishing, I say why not have them as an option.
A replacement for a Web site (and RSS feeds, and e-mail, and whatever comes next) — no. A product in addition to a traditional Web site — why not?