The Wall Street Journal.
Description of App
Free or Paid
Apple Watch Support
Device(s) App Was Tested On
0 people have recommended this app
This commentary reviews The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) app version 6.2 released on February 20, 2015. I am using the WSJ app on an iPad Mini with iOS 8.1.3 and in case it is significant, I am using portrait viewing mode.
I am going to cover the basic use of the app for reading and searching. The app description mentions some other features such as saving articles, this is not covered here as I have not found how to do them yet. Nevertheless I hope this review is helpful for you to decide if the app is worth your time.
First, as previous comments state the app is more accessible than when it was originally added to the app directory. It is not fully accessible. It can be used if you are willing to tolerate the short-comings and work around them.
First, what works:
Articles can be read. If VoiceOver is set to continuously read, it will scroll the pages of the article, most of the time. If you read manually, each page is in one swipe block. To move to the next page you need to scroll right, three fingers swipe from right to left, when using the app on an iPad in portrait mode. Flicking does allow navigation of the screen including finding the article. This also means that Braille works to find and read the text of an article.
Links to articles can be double tapped to go there. For example, when on Page One, the text is made up of links. VoiceOver does not announce they are links but tapping them will activate. Note some links are announced as links, but often not. The user needs to read the text intuitively.
Stock quotes. Stock quote screens are accessible. If an article talks about publicly traded companies, the related stock ticker symbols appear after the content block of the article. For example, if Apple is mentioned, the link may read “AAPL 1.9%”. The percentage is related to the day’s stock move. VoiceOver does not announce this is a link, however it is, and double tapping will open a detailed quotes screen. There is text on this screen and it can be read. It seems similar to the Apple Stocks app.
Search. At the top of the screen there is a Search button. Tapping it opens a search screen that works as one would expect. Search results are displayed in a list, and tapping one will open the article, etc. Note that when an article is displayed from the search results, the back arrow button is not labeled correctly, but the icon name is distinguishable enough to find it.
Share. This brings up the normal Apple sharing screen.
Editions. This button allows for the selection of the issues currently available in the app. This button also gives access to the Settings button. The screen is accessible.
Settings. This area is accessible. I was able to purchase a subscription, register for a WSJ online account (which can be used to log into the website from a web browser also), and sign in to the app. I have not tried to unsubscribe, however, the documentation notes this is managed via Apple’s subscription mechanism from within App Purchases, not by the WSJ app so I assume this is accessible.
Sections. The biggest problem with the WSJ app is the Sections screen. Tapping the Sections button at the top of the screen will display the various sections and number of articles for each section. Selecting a section displays the links to the articles in the section. Unfortunately, the links do not read. VoiceOver says “link” for each. You can tap the link to activate it, so this does provide a way to move to a specific section. You just will not know what article you are going to. There does not appear to be any way to leave this screen without selecting an article, which means you cannot escape back to the last article you were reading. Since you cannot find the link to the article you were reading you will most likely not be returned to it. So only use this screen when you’re sure you want to change sections. The workaround to navigating a section is to select one either from the Sections screen clicking on the first link, or from the Page One area. Once in a section, it acts like a newspaper or book. Scrolling through the articles page by page, swiping right to left with three fingers on an iPad in portrait mode, will continue to move through the article’s pages, and when the end of an article is reached, it will move to the next article. The screen does not provide a counter of what article you are on, so you do not know if you are on article six of 12 for example. When a section ending is reached, the next section is automatically scrolled to, giving the experience to be like a magazine.
Page counter. At the bottom of an article is the usual page counter slider found in iOS. It will show page 1 of 3 for example when on the first page of an article. Note this is article specific, not section specific. You can use usual iOS gestures to change the setting here, however, it does not have an effect on the article. In other words, changing the page slider does not scroll the article. The slider will update when a new page is scrolled to either automatically by VoiceOver or with the three finger flicking gesture. So at least you know how much of the article remains.
Advertisements. WSJ is apparently full of advertisements. The advertisements are graphical, and are not labeled with alternative text. Often, page two of an article is a full screen advertisement. VoiceOver will usually announce the name of some graphic. You can scroll to the next page and the article will pick up again. Longer articles may have multiple advertisements dispersed throughout. There are also some interactive activities often with edit fields. VoiceOver does not announce their purpose, I assume it is a poll or something. You can scroll past these usually, though occasionally VoiceOver will get stuck on these screens.
This version does some bug fixes and adds Apple Watch support.
Please see my previous comment on version 6.2 for an overall description of this app and issues.
In this 7.1 update the important bug fix of note is that the previously mentioned issue in the "Sections" area of the app which did not read names of links has been fixed. VoiceOver can now read the names of the links to articles. This makes browsing the paper much easier and faster. Note: I tested this using iOS 9 and an iPad Mini, in case there is different behavior on other devices or earlier iOS versions.
The speech is choppy because voiceover pronounces every syllable as if it were a new word. When I examined words Character by character, voiceover reported a "soft hyphen" between every syllable. A sighted person looking at the screen couldn't see these soft hyphens. Does anyone know What could cause this? Ken