Needless to say, reading The Outline is not like perusing the New Yorker (though Topolsky welcomes the comparison). The designers behind it say that’s a good thing. “If we had only built a content consumption experience that delivered against the behaviors that exist today, we wouldn’t have made anything new” says Mike Treff, managing partner at Code & Theory, the studio that helped Topolsky build The Outline. “We pushed ourselves to try new things—some of them will work, some of them won’t, but it’s in the service of telling the right stories in the right way.”
It’s still too early to tell who will find this experience charming and who will get fed up. “Maybe we’ve come to the point where people are so used to using these kind of mediums that you can start to play with the conventions,” says Simen Skogsrud, a principle designer at Bengler, a digital products studio who works on media platforms. “I’d like to have a frustrating user experience more often.”
In many cases, when people say frustrating, what they really mean is unfamiliar. And to Topolsky, unfamiliarity is a good thing. To him it means they’re doing something different. “I understand people being like, ‘what the fuck is this?’” Topolsky says. “But ‘what the fuck is this’ is basically what someone says about anything that’s new.”
The Outline is definitely new. Now let’s see if people keep swiping.
^1^UPDATE 9:25 AM ET 12/9/16:An earlier version of this story identified Joshua Topolsky as the editor of Bloomberg Businessweek. He was the editor of *Bloomberg *Digital.