The Museum of Magazine History

Interfacelab and iA do an admirable job of ripping the new Wired iPad app to shreds. I don’t need to add more to what they’ve already said. I will add what they didn’t say:

Fundamentally, what makes Wired so good is the content. It’s a good brand because its content is good. This app is the equivalent of Wired taking its content, throwing it in a pit and pouring cement over it. It’s an instant fossilization. The content is mummified. Never to be touched or dissected or shared. I can’t even circle a paragraph on the fucking thing. 

With technology, shit is supposed to move forward. You’re supposed to be able to do stuff and experience stuff that you couldn’t before. This app is more like a tribute to magazines than a reimagining of where publishing can become.

It’s anti-Web, anti-sharing, anti-copy/paste – anti-everything. It’s a disservice to what was created. On the Web, content lives and breathes. This isn’t a digital magazine. It’s a tomb.

One final thought: there’s an odd irony about the whole experience. The iPad brings us closer to content – physically – than any technology to come before it. The whole experience is almost a tease. You’re swiping and touching all these “pages” and you can’t do a single thing with them. Welcome to the Museum of Magazine History.

4 Comments The Museum of Magazine History

  1. Michael Turro

    Can’t do a single thing other than read them you mean. While I completely understand where you’re coming from and agree with the basic thrust of your position, I can’t shake myself of this nagging feeling that this is less a mis-step and more a statement. At first blush I was deep in the this sucks camp, but as I spent time with it and read through it and got to know it something weird started to happen… I began to relate to this as a magazine. I sank into a familiar space that the web had long since destroyed for me – a place of quite contemplation where I didn’t have to react, didn’t have to share, didn’t have to comment. It was… enjoyable. Kind of like using that cool plugin Readability – ever hear of that one? ;)
    Now I’m not saying that this thing is perfect – not by a long shot. There are plenty of things that could be done to improve it, but for now I’m just happy to have that space back. Let’s hope that the improvements that are sure to come don’t destroy it all over again.

  2. Richard Ziade

    Mike –
    Good points. Facilitating focus & peace & quiet is a very good thing – but it shouldn’t be imposed (in my opinion). It should be selective.
    I guess I sort of want everything: the freedom and connective tissue of the Web + a great reading experience.

  3. Marlon Ayres

    I understand Richard’s anger related to the Wired app and I tottaly agree with it.
    In fact I think it brings up a greater problem about the way creatives work with the logic behind touch interfaces, a problem that’s much older, probably from when the iPhone came out.
    Sometimes it’s good to remember that creatives shouldn’t let themselves be amazed(as many consumers do) with the possibilities, the innovation or the slickness of things.
    They are creators in the first place, they should worry about the objective, the usability and functionality and practicality of things, and not so much about the visual elegance of it.
    But anyway I think this is an usual problem to face with every major change in interface design.
    I would just like to ask you to keep the friendly talk as I really enjoy this blog.


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