Khoi Vinh, formerly of The New York Times is often asked his opinions on the cavalcade of publications rushing to the iPad.
Here’s what he has to say about magazines on the iPad:
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.
…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.
The ability to develop content that’s native to a new platform is no simple matter, but as Vinh points out, it’s a necessary step in the evolution of new media.
I remember a few years ago how I’d come to a Web site–particularly agency sites–and the browser would automatically resize to take up all available real estate on my screen. That type of thinking and the design that results from it is totally unaware of the real user experience on the Web. I don’t want to be shut off from all the digital balls that I’m juggling, and to shut me off without my permission is totally unacceptable.