With the recent demise of iPad mag tech, a revisit to the prophetic words of Sparksheet’s design director Charles Lim seems apropos. Back in 2012 it was Lim who boldly declared that the future of digital content is on the Web, not shoehorned into native apps that serve up a limited experience for the reader.
As Lim notes, magazine fans are readers. And readers love to read. They want to engage with the text in ways that are heavy-handed at best on digital apps. The Web offers more flexibility, more depth of connection and the ability to enhance, instead of box in, the digital magazine experience.
And if a company like Wired can’t manage to make a go of its iPad magazine app (touted at the time of its launch as “the future of magazines”), what makes us think mere mortal publishers should cloak their lovely print creations in this type of digital clothing?
Lim writes, “Digital publishing will be about trying to offer more engaging experiences that work for everyone, rather than going all-in on a single platform, no matter how shiny it is. It will be up to us to meet readers wherever they are.
Rather than trying to force magazines into all of these digital devices, perhaps we should be figuring out how to bring the digital world into our magazines.”
Meeting readers wherever they are is the answer to the digital magazine conundrum. Don’t box me in.