UPDATE 2/21/10: New iPad demo from WIRED magazine.
When we got married 16 years ago, my wife and I subscribed to 7 magazines and read them all cover-to-cover. Plus, we’d buy more at the newsstand.
Today, we subscribe to just two.
Both pile up, unread, for months at a time. Even The Atlantic Monthly, which I find both brilliant and entertaining. I feel lousy for not keeping up, but at least I’m supporting great journalism with my subscription dollars.
A lot of very smart people are working feverishly to restore the magazine business back to health. Some friends passed me this intriguing video from a design house that has a slick-looking approach to the problem.
As good-looking as it is, for me it still misses the mark.
The problem isn’t that magazines aren’t slick enough or that they lack digital functionality. The problems is that magazines are a time-killing content medium in an age when we don’t have time to kill, and we’re already drowning in content.
My RSS feeder of free content is overflowing with stuff I can’t get to. I’ll bet yours is, too.
The Design Idea At 7:35
But just when I was getting ready to close the window and abandon the video, something cool happened. It’s at 7:35 in.
Now THERE’S something potentially revolutionary and useful: little intriguing chunks of quick, easily digestible content in a fun interface. That genuinely feels like a fun experience, and doesn’t fall into the trap of “but it has to feel like a magazine”. It reminds me, in a good way, of the Babelgum iPhone app.
The interface idea at 7:35, especially if some of the items were video, feels like it has the potential to be a winner. What do you think?
“(this design commits) what I consider to be the cardinal sin of any web app today. It creates a uni-directional relationship. Its between the reader and content, but doesn’t take into account other readers. Basically, the concept of social. The recreation of the water cooler online.
What if the reader allowed for communication and conversation?
Now, the NatGeo piece I read on pygmies could be shared and discussed with my friends that I know are into the subject. Time and speed are now on my side.”