January 29, 2013

I subscribed to the redesigned New Republic website, but I can't get it to work... [UPDATED].

... on my digital devices and I can't find subscriber help on the website.

When I go to the website in my browser from my desktop computer, I can see that I'm signed in. I am certain I know my sign-in information and my password. I've downloaded the iPad app, but when it asks me to sign-in, it doesn't recognize my information. When I go back to my desktop computer and search the website through my browser, I can't find any relevant place to go for help with my subscription.

I subscribed because I wanted to have the app experience on iPad. I thought Chris Hughes, having succeeded in co-founding Facebook, would have the functionality worked out in a lovely way. The display of articles actually is pretty nice, and the free app works without a subscription.

I know they want to make money, and I was willing to credit Hughes — if he pulled it off — with finally figuring out how to make traditional print media into a digital experience worth paying for. I would have given this project good press if I could, but I'm getting nowhere.

Another thing. When I filled out the form to subscribe, I filled in many blocks of the form — name, address, credit card number — before clicking to continue. The page refreshed with a completely empty form and the information that I'd done my credit card number wrong. I can't believe I bothered to do the whole form a second time.

It's incredible, after all the Hughes hoopla, that they didn't test out the site in advance to see how it worked with ordinary people attempting to use it intuitively.

UPDATE: I sent an email to the address that thanked me for subscribing. I explained the problem, and I got a response saying that "the current issue on the iPad is free and therefore requires no login. So we've disable [sic] this for the short-term in order to give everyone a chance to read our relaunch issue. You'll be able to log in as normal when we release our next issue in two weeks."

So the message I was getting saying they didn't recognize my login information was misleading. They really would, presumably, recognize it, if it were needed, but it's not needed yet. This was incredibly annoying!

This also means that my statement "the free app works without a subscription" is wrong. 

33 comments:

EDH said...

I thought Chris Hughes, having succeeded in co-founding Facebook, would have the functionality worked out in a lovely way.

Am I the only one who think Facebook still looks like a rudimentary mess?

Pete said...

Sounds like this post could use your rarely-used "I was wrong" tag.

Nonapod said...

Am I the only one who think Facebook still looks like a rudimentary mess?

Certainly not. Facebook is shit on every level (overall design, functionality, user friendliness ect.). Unfortunately there's not a lot of motivation for them to do anything about it.

edutcher said...

Maybe you need to do the the TNR page on Facebook.

Mary Beth said...

Facebook apps have never worked well. I'm not subscribing to TNR just to see if their app is better or worse than any of the FB ones.

Original Mike said...

Someday, software will be bug free. And someday, we'll be booking flights on Porcine Airlines.

EMD said...

I thought Chris Hughes, having succeeded in co-founding Facebook, would have the functionality worked out in a lovely way.

You mistakenly thought Hughes was responsible for functionality at Facebook.

Facebook is astoundingly simple to use for most people, but like other posters have said, it's still basically crap design and full functionality.

Rob said...

It's surprising their digital content doesn't work well, since they hired a well-known former hacker to manage the enterprise.

Ann Althouse said...

"Sounds like this post could use your rarely-used "I was wrong" tag."

No. There's nothing I was wrong about here, other than making a typo on my credit card number.

I wanted to see what something was like. I spent some money to look.

BDNYC said...

TNR already having problems living up to its recent promises.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/mag-pushes-fake-picture-obama-skeet-shooting_698730.html

They just can't help themselves. Carrying water for the administration is just how they "showcase passionate writing and continue to wrestle with the primary questions about our society."

ByondPolitics said...

O.M.G.

300 words because you don't want to spend the time filling out a form again? 300 words without even bothering to discuss why many websites do it this way?

I come here now & then for a laugh & you never fail to disappoint. great parody site.

Pete said...

Ah, I see, Althouse. You went into this experience expecting one thing but coming away with something quite different. Something almost exactly opposite to what you wanted to happen. But you weren't wrong at all. . .

Ann Althouse said...

"300 words because you don't want to spend the time filling out a form again? 300 words without even bothering to discuss why many websites do it this way? "

1. Most of this post is not about that.

2. The websites I've used over the years identify the place where the info is bad and let you fix that. This was odd. It could have deterred me. I'm simply noting the poor functionality from my point of view.

MayBee said...

I have trouble using your site on my iPad. Once I post a comment, I have trouble posting another one.

MayBee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

@pete you're attributing an expectation to me for the purpose of asserting it was wrong. But I never said I had it.

Coketown said...

I clicked through to see the new site. Andy Warhol missed his medium.

Then I scanned the headlines, and "fluff-a-nutter" came to mind. A peculiar association, to be sure. But deserved. "How Brunch Ruined Smoked Salmon." "Chick lit's new-media heroines." "Obama finally finds his doctrine." I thought to ask, "Which of these does not belong?" But they all belong, because they're all lightweight fluffed-up horseshit.

I certainly don't want a subscription, but I do want marshmallow and peanut butter on whitebread.

Scott M said...

Is this the same New Republic that just posted a fake pic of BHO skeet shooting, only to take it down almost as quickly once they realized it was fake?

Paco Wové said...

"without even bothering to discuss why many websites do it this way?"

Do what "this way"? Provide bad UI?

Coketown said...

I've noticed a lot of sites are sacrificing or neglecting basic functionality for slick graphics and Timothy Noah. I'd rather have forms that retain their data than either of those. And I'd like for sites to stop making slight changes to their layout ALL the time (Amazon). And I'd like it to be more obvious where to log in the first time, instead of scanning the page for several minutes to find the discreet, flat-gray button (last.fm). And I'd like pages to stop refreshing half-way through the article, only to take you back to the top of the article (everyone).

What else would I like... umm...

I'd like cnet.com to stop being so fucking stupid. Did you hear about "Objectify a male tech writer day"? Some female writers were upset because their readers always comment on their looks when sharing their articles, so they dedicated a day to return the treatment to men. Except men don't care. And it just ticked people off and made them nastier toward women. So they canceled it, but still declared mission accomplished. Because...you know...they got people talking about it. And isn't that what progress is all about? Not solving problems, but getting people to talk about it.

Lem said...

I still say the hat Scalia wore to the inauguration was a Saint Thomas Moore hat.

EMD said...

On TNR front-page right now:

"Why do Grandmothers exist?"

For soup and war stories ... duh.

bgates said...

There's nothing I was wrong about here

Earlier:

I thought Chris Hughes, having succeeded in co-founding Facebook, would have the functionality worked out in a lovely way

Lem said...

The New New Republic has new priorities... customer service is apparently not one of them.

Big Mike said...

@Scott M, indeed it is one and the same TNR.

My first thought when I saw it on Drudge that I'd never seen a skeet shooter -- or any shooter -- take that stance. Looks more like a golf position.

My second was that it looked photoshopped, especially w.r.t. the left arm.

My third was that it had to be photoshopped because what idiot would let the President shoot without ear and eye protection?

Scott Bradford said...

Hello, Ann.

I took a look at the site and there is a link in the footer to 'Subscriber Services,' but it was hard to actually click...it seems to be blocked by some other page element most of the time. Doesn't seem to have been very well-tested.

Anyway, here is the direct link:
http://www.newrepublic.com/page/subscriber-services

Quoting from that page:

To manage the details of your New Republic subscriber account, sign in and click on your username. You can renew and upgrade your subscription, change your login information, change your print delivery address, and more.

To speak with a customer service representative, please call 800-827-1289 between 5am and 5pm Pacific. You may also send an email to TheNewRepublic@pubservice.com. Please include your account number in your correspondence.

Coketown said...

Why do grandmothers exist? Because their grandchildren do. File this evolutionary mystery under "solved."

Alex said...

I'm feeling nerdrage!

Chip S. said...

Is this the same New Republic that just posted a fake pic of BHO skeet shooting, only to take it down almost as quickly once they realized it was fake?

The bestest and the brightestest. Not like those idiots at Faux Noise.

David said...

Andover, Harvard, $500 million net worth.

High end one trick pony.

Steve Koch said...

Putting up a fake picture of Obama skeet shooting shows that Chris Hughes does not yet realize that TNR is a classy lefty flhack outfit, which means that they don't go into full out lefty propagandist mode in non election years. With any luck, Chris will destroy whatever credibility TNR has with indy voters and turn it into a tin eared, strident, MSNBC wannabe (blog/print division).

Steve Koch said...

Hope to see more Chris Hughes and TNR posts because it will be so interesting to see what he does with TNR. The kid has already been a wunderkind twice and he isn't even 30 yet. Will he turn his new toy, TNR, into another amazing success or is he going to cheapen the brand?

It seems a bit anal retentive to me to obsess about Althouse's quicky review of the new TNR interface since the post is mostly just a place holder for the commentors to riff on Chris Hughes and TNR.

Pete said...

I know how hard it was for you to use the "w" word, Althouse and I'm proud of you. ;=)