As they don't seem to stock the paper version at East Acton tube station, my daily intake of the Metro relies purely on copies being left on the backs of seats after another has finished reading them. I have noticed that this has become an increasingly rare occurance.
I would not suggest that the Metro is a paper of high editorial regard, but in terms of free daily newspapers that are available to me on the commute into work, it is probably the best one going!
The option to therefore read the paper online at my desk during lunch, or even prior to starting work (if I've managed to get in nice and early) is a wonderful thing.
The interface it uses is clear and comes with very few, but useful, features. There are the options to:
- View as a 1 or 2 page layout
- Shade the crease in the paper, which actually does make it easier to read!
- Bookmark interesting pages
- View thumbnail images to one side as a contents page
- Download an offline version (unfortunately not a pdf as far as I could see)
- Search through the content of the current issue or all previous issues (since it started online on 29th July 2008) for a topic or keyword
- Plus...the option to add the paper to your facebook profile, and other online services like Digg.
It would be good to see them begin to archive old editions of the paper in this format back as far as they can. This would be a great feature and allow interesting research to be got out of it's presence on the web. I shall give the search function a thorough test at some point to see whether it does indeed provide relevant results through the issues it has stored so far. It would also be nice to have the ability to simply download the paper as a pdf rather than in some zip format which then requires the installation of their reader software to view. However, with the online version running smoothly then I do not consider it to be a major problem for me.