One of my partners is a huge fan of Times Reader, the Windows-only application that brings you the New York Times in an integrated, non-browser, application. It really does work beautifully – even when run on Windows XP using Parallels on my Mac Book Pro.
Part of the elegance of the application is the narrow column design that is sensitive to my screen’s height (meaning there’s simply no scrolling up and down across the “fold” to read – the columns just continue right to left across the page) and, I believe, the Times’ careful use of photography on almost every story page. This user interface seems so natural and intuitive – yet it’s so much not a part of today’s browser-based web UI. Why?
The Times says they have a Mac version coming – this Windows version apparently is heavily into .Net’s runtime. I look forward to having this same refreshing interface for reading the Times natively on my Mac sometime in the New Year.