Posted by: Brian Taylor Carlson
I subscribe to many magazines. I am a magazine fanatic. I download some issues onto my Kindle and sometimes my iPhone. As much as I want to love digital versions of magazines, they simply are not the same as print.
Picking up a print magazine and flipping through it makes the magazine experience much more interactive than on mobile devices. Cumbersome and confusing tablet versions have yet to master the ease of user-friendliness.
Where do tablet magazines go from here to improve their usability? Are tablet versions of magazines simply in a state of transition?
Eddie Vassallo, CEO of Entropy – an app development company – said that the main problem with tablet versions is that the user has to access them from the Newsstand icon on either Apple or Android products, “which can be hidden inside a folder.”
Out of sight, out of mind.
According to Wright’s Media, two mistakes the magazine industry makes are:
- Attempting to “ignore the tablet medium as a whole.”
- Trying to “place too much effort into the tablet version, bogging it down and making it difficult to use.”
Either way, this alienates the reader and thwarts advertising dollars.
What can magazines do with mobile tablet platforms to increase their prevalence and revenue?
The tablet magazine is not dead. It is merely evolving, figuring out the best way to survive and thrive. Jeremy Leslie, editor of the blog magCulture said in an article from The Guardian: “As with most new forms, digital will succeed in various aspects. Print will continue to succeed in others.”
Navigating to a specific article or page can be a challenging task, especially if I am pressed for time. I use cooking magazines for many of my recipe ideas. It is much easier to have a magazine spread out on the kitchen counter as I prep. I tried using tablet versions for this purpose several times and failed – miserably.
If my hands are covered in ingredients or if something spills, I do not have to worry about paper as much as I have to worry about delicate electronics. It is much easier to flip the pages to other recipes or instructions in the same magazine than it is on the tablet. I hope to start a cooking blog this summer and sadly, my tablet will not be involved in the process.
What do you think magazine companies can do to improve the current state of awkwardness of some of their tablet versions? Do you think that a “stand-alone” app is better than a Newsstand version, or do you think there is a better alternative?