As an app magazine designer, I’m always looking for new inspirations and challenges as regards the tablet magazine market. High-quality design and usability are things I focus on most. So I took a closer look at this year’s winner of the Digital Magazine Awards. Learning from the best is always good, right? The Wired Magazine’s UK issue won the title "Digital Magazine of the Year 2014".
But before going into detail about the Wired Magazine, I want to talk about another publication that had also made it into the DMA’s final round: the TOUCH Magazine. This magazine comes out in two languages (English and Spanish) and had a special issue titled "1900’s special edition". What was considered sexy around 1900 (okay, it is a man’s magazine) and what else happened around that time? This is presented in a beautiful and playful way with many animations and interactive features that really look cool. Beautiful to look at. But: Too much of a good thing is not good. As a designer, I’m of course very critical and I have to point out that the animations put the content aside and the reader might be overwhelmed by all the buttons to tap. I have asked some friends to test the magazine and give me feedback.
Their opinions: "You have to be extraordinarily fit using apps for reading this magazine." "It is very beautiful, but exhausting." "I did not want to continue reading after two pages." Especially the continuously (!) flashing navigation buttons destroy the beauty of the app, what I find really sad. To make matters worse, the reading flow is not logical and quite disturbing. I have to swipe to the right, then upwards, then downwards, simply confusing. The TOUCH Magazine shows that too much clutter on the screen can really put readers off. This cannot be something the publisher aims for.