is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired in 2013), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “How They Got There: Interviews with Digital Designers About Their Careers”and “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children.
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It’s not really surprising to me that an industry that has little to no expertise in tablets (or the web for that matter), would enter the market and fail so completely. In general I would expect outsourced software development to yield substandard products. But outsourcing development of a product for a new cutting edge device? Is it a surprise to anyone that almost every first gen iPad magazine app is terrible?
an app is only as good as the requirements. can’t blame the developers in this case. they didn’t cause any infighting or departures (all that came about as the requirements were being written).
One need only to look at the most recent issue of National Geographic digital edition (Civil War) to see a complete failure. So much “interactivity” as to be completely unusable. Slow to download, slow to load on each page, features not working and a completely disjointed reading experience. Awful.
Give it some time; Do you know what the first shows on TV were when TV was just invented? Recordings of theatre performances. Similarly magazines are first trying to port their existing models to a new ecosystem. It will take some time for them to truly realize the potential and bring something that actually works great on a tablet.
I don’t mean to blame the developers. Rather that companies that outsource software development are less likely to have experts in-house and thus are less likely to know the medium well enough to make the decisions that lead to first class user experiences in the final product.
I’d be interested in knowing if the reason for this failure is the experience of reading a magazine on a tablet or if readership of magazines overall, print or digital, is falling because of so many other real time media sources that are available to us.
I guess I’m a bit of a relic, as I’m 25 years old and subscribe to the print editions of both Wired and Fast Company. But those are the only name brand, so to speak, periodicals I read. The rest of my reading comes from blogs: tech, political, personal.
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