Former Observer music editor Pete Freedman’s new gig, CentralTrack, launched over the weekend. Here’s the way he describes it: “CentralTrack.com [is] a new Dallas-focused publication that plans to aim its focus directly and unapologetically at the elusive 18-to-35-year-old demographic by writing about the things they’re most interested in — music, restaurants, bars, nightlife, fashion, sports, art and anything else connected to the most happening events in town on a given week — and through the online-only, social media- and mobile-ready means we all clearly prefer.” Today’s offerings: a reader-service piece on putting together a Valentine’s Day meal at 7-Eleven, a primer on Yu Darvish, a profile of tattoo artist Oliver Peck, and so forth.
I haven’t read any of it. Nor will I — until CentralTrack abandons its silly horizontal layout. On a phone, content lives in a horizontal space between two black navigation bars. You scroll to the right to read stories. The paragraphs are too wide to fit on the screen. It’s an excruciating user experience. On a desktop computer, things aren’t much better. The two black navigation bars are vertical and static. As you scroll left or right, content comes into view between the two black nav bars.
I’ll put the over-under on a week. That’s when Pete Freedman and the rest of the folks at CentralTrack will realize the error of their ways and convert to the vertical layout that the rest of the World Wide Web uses. Then I’ll start reading their stories.