Should digital tablet magazines really be the same?

In these early days of digital magazines, users aren’t quite sure what they want—fancy new magazine interfaces with all the bells and whistles, or a simple magazine reader that stays true to traditional print publications. According to the findings of GfK MRI’s iPanel, 67% of consumers said they prefer an electronic magazine, yet 65% also say it’s more satisfying to them to read a print copy.

These days you never know what you’ll encounter with each new digital magazine subscription. The ways to navigate each one is different, the layouts are different and the interfaces are all different. With one magazine, swiping the screen may turn the page, but for another magazine that same movement will switch you to the next article. 72% of users are frustrated and just wish their digital editions could all follow the same format. However, publishers say they are getting positive feedback from their users. Could it be that people just don’t know what they want yet?

Sometimes in the early stages of a new product, nostalgia battles against the excitement of newness. For example, Gregg Hano, SVP Corporate Sales and Technology Group, Bonnier, says “I think it’s important to remember that this is a relatively new way to consume content, and there’s going to be learning and adjustments along the way. Video content did not become popular on the Web overnight, but now Americans alone watch more than a billion minutes of Web video a year. It may take time to strike the right balance of video and static content on the tablet, and for users to adapt to the formats.”


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