One thing about The Daily that bugged me from the second I first laid eyes on the iPad newspaper that launched yesterday is that there is no one place where you can see a simple list of every story in the issue. There is a table of contents, but it shows only ten featured stories. Like any good hack, The Daily: Indexed creates a feature that is missing from the original but is deeply needed. The Tumblr blog put together by Andy Baio creates a complete table of contents for The Daily.
The Daily: Indexed is causing a stir because The Daily is a subscription-only publication meant to be read on the iPad. The Daily’s website is not much more than brochureware for the iPad app at this point, but there is a backdoor to every story. Whenever a subscriber shares a story via email, Twitter, or Facebook from their iPads—like this one about Amish raw milk smugglers—the recipients get a link to the story on thedaily.com. You can’t find these stories by searching the site because there is no search or even any way to navigate from the home page to any of the articles. But the pages are there and Baio simply found the links and created a table of contents pointing to each page.
I really don’t think this does anything other than provide free marketing to The Daily. The articles on the Web look like crap compared to reading them on the iPad. And many of the interactive graphics and photos are not available on the Web. It’s just a better experience on the iPad (whether it’s worth paying for is another question, but time will tell).
The iPad version could use a better table of contents, though, or an index of every story in the issue. Right now, if it is not one of the ten featured stories in the table of contents, you have to flip through a carousel or timeline of images to see everything. The iPad app would be much easier to navigate if it had a page that was like The Daily: Indexed, but pointing to other stories inside the app. You can see what I mean from this shaky-cam video) I took yesterday at the launch event: