Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stamp out web magazines that look like real magazines

My campaign is to stamp out web magazines that try to have the look and feel of real magazines. This is becoming more and more common, and it's go to stop.

When I pick up a real magazine, I know how to turn the pages, and how to move from page 11 to page 75. If the magazine is in two column format, my eyes jump naturally from one column to the next.

But when I read an article on the web that is formatted to look and feel like a magazine, I sometimes can't even figure out how to get to the bottom of a page, let alone get to the next page. Sometimes, I have to click on the right side of the page, and that causes an animation of the page turning, but much slower that I turn pages and very distracting. Sometimes there's a button to get to the next page. It's never "Page Down"; at best, that gets to the bottom of a single page.

The worst part of the Real Magazine Look is the two-column format. That just doesn't work on web pages. With a normal font size, you have to page down to get to the bottom of the first column and then page back up to get to the top of the second column.

When I read an ordinary article on the web, I can easily change the font size by clicking CTRL+ or CTRL-. With the goofy image version of an article, there's usually only two sizes: way too small and way too big.

So far, every site I've used that handles their magazines this way does provide a way to get a PDF, which gives more control. But usually the PDF is just another form of the same magazine-page images, and it's still hard to manipulate them, especially if they use the two column format.

Here's an example of such an article: