I will never understand the publishers stubbornness in designing magazine online. They literally replicate their print edition. Not just the content, but the layout. You have a cover/front page. You have sections, you have pages and along all that, a lot and lot of text .

Scrolling, for example, is much easier online. No need to change pages when all you have to do is scroll down. Why fix a limit on how far down you can scroll, when the majority of us have a wheel and can read down for ever?

One reason is that making you change page forces the page to reload, thus displaying new ads. Good for the publisher, not for the reader.

And what is it with this obscene amount of text? Since the launch of Netscape, back in the early 90’s, the web can easily display images, yet all publication use much more text than visuals. Yet the cost is practically the same.

One would have thought that, by now, all the news could have been delivered in a multimedia format. Instead of the linear print magazine format, the web offers video, sound, graphics and of course, photography, to give the readers a more three diminutional vision of a story.

Yet few, if none, use this ability. Its like driving a ferrari at 20 MPH all the time.

Magazine publishers, as we all know, are extremely resistant to change. If anything, they will do more of the same and copy their competition before they will innovate. They mostly believe that their content is so special, it cannot be brought down by the packaging.  They should think again.

With the coming of age of the internet generation, those who grew up in the 90’s and are about to hit college, this will change fast. Right now they are busy absorbing. Absorbing Youtube, Facebook, EW online, myspace. They currently take what is being offered to them. As somewhat passive consumers. But when they hit the work force and take charge, they will certainly create a new medium and certainly affect it deeply.

Online magazine will be more web friendly, mixing text, video, voice over, photography to deliver the story. Navigation will no longer be up and down, left to right.

Interfaces will more like the one use by Brightqube who sadly currently only uses it for delivering  RF images. You will be able to slide your way through a publication that will all reside on one page. Companies like MediaStorm will be able to produce more interactive multimedia, where one would be more involved in its unfolding instead of being a passive listener.  For example, on a report on the Iraq war, one could decide between the short or long version, the unrated or family friendly version, wether to read or listen. And much, much  more.

Magazine sites currently look like scanned magazines. TV sites, look like small tv sets. News site, depending on who produced it, look like their parent. Obviously they want to maintain their brand, and they will. But like microstock to the commercial stock world, they are leaving the door wide open for someone else to steal their readership.

And they will.

Author: pmelcher

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