App-solutely Fabulous

So The New York Times, an organization that has, in the past, struggled with issues of both innovation and transparency, has launched a section of its Web site that fosters both. The paper’s First Look blog—designed to introduce new apps and functionalities the outlet’s Web designers are rolling out—has established a new category: “Prototypes.”

“Posting about our newly launched products is nice,” Ken Little, the Times’s Director of Web Technologies, writes on Prototypes’s introductory post,

but introducing you to our applications before they hit the mainstream is even better. Prototype is a new category of the First Look blog, specially dedicated to projects that aren’t quite ready for prime time. Check out some of these innovative ideas we’re working on, and give us your feedback.

Check out the blog for previews of the Times’s Article Skimmer feature—a display that spreads several stories across a screen (an attempt, Little writes, to mimic the experience of spreading out a print paper on a table)—as well as several prototypes for Web slices (live bookmark-like features that allow a user to read Times content in a preview window). Comments and feedback, though moderated, are welcome.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.