Khoi Vinh on the failure of magazines on the iPad and Russell Davies on Post-digital

Post Digital iPad Apple Khoi Vinh Russell Davies
Image: Russell Davies from dconstruct

If publishers continue to pursue the print-centric strategies they’re focused on today, I’m willing to bet that most of them will fail. - Khoi Vinh on the magazine publisher's lack of understanding of the iPad or digital tablet platforms. My iPad magazine stand.

..we're finally moving past the twin elephants in the room of technological conversation. Infatuation with everything shiny and digital, and that nostalgic, 'Lead Pencil Club' clinging to the past. We're finally getting to the point where we can decide which are the appropriate technologies to use based simply on their actual merits. And, we're starting to understand how to combine the analogue and digital in effective ways. Russell Davies: dconstruct

"Our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction." Francis Picabia

Recently I've been considering Russell Davies' thoughts and ideas around Post-digital. There's much to expound upon in his presentations, but what struck me the most were his ideas about getting beyond our problems with the ubiquitous digital screen.
Russell Davies Post Digital

As he points out "..they don't always work well. They don't fail gracefully. And we haven't really learned how to design or write for them yet."

And when hardware, screens, media and platforms collide, as in the iPad, problems occur. Here's Khoi Vinh again:

My opinion about iPad-based magazines is that they run counter to how people use tablets today and, unless something changes, will remain at odds with the way people will use tablets as the medium matures. They’re bloated, user-unfriendly and map to a tired pattern of mass media brands trying vainly to establish beachheads on new platforms without really understanding the platforms at all.

The fact of the matter is that the mode of reading that a magazine represents is a mode that people are decreasingly interested in, that is making less and less sense as we forge further into this century, and that makes almost no sense on a tablet. As usual, these publishers require users to dive into environments that only negligibly acknowledge the world outside of their brand, if at all — a problem that’s abetted and exacerbated by the full-screen, single-window posture of all iPad software. In a media world that looks increasingly like the busy downtown heart of a city — with innumerable activities, events and alternative sources of distraction around you — these apps demand that you confine yourself to a remote, suburban cul-de-sac.


For anyone working in media and/or designing for digital platforms and screens, I highly recommend clicking on this and this to read more on the screen/platform issues from Vinh and Davies respectively. Definitely much food for thought.