Some thoughts on tech magazines

For many years, I subscribed to various tech magazines like InfoWorld, eWeek, etc. One by one they have dropped the print editions and shifted to website only versions. While I understand the economics of such a move, most of these publishers have ruined what was once a valuable resource. Look at the websites of any major tech site and you will see headers, ads everywhere, and somewhere in that mess is an article. Now in the print editions, you would probably see a right or left column ad, and maybe a footer, plus some full-page adverts. Go to the websites and there are ads at the top, off to the side, inside the posts, and of course lengthy footers with everything but the kitchen sink. I dare say no more that 30-40% of the page contains actual content, if that. OK, more ads mean more money, and there need to be links to the other areas of the site, but really, do you have to have so much stuff?

On a computer, I have gotten used to the noise on the pages, but I dare say a lot of viewers use their tablets to read news. So take the page and shrink the size, and now it is next to impossible to read anything without zooming in, and we will not even talk about the flash ad issue. A little responsive design would not hurt here.

As an option, some publishers have been making pdfs of their ‘magazines’ which are basically formatted at standard magazine size. Hello, do they not realize that most viewers will be looking at these on a tablet? The print is uncomfortably small, and you have to zoom in to read anything. Why not throw out the standard 8.5 x 11 paper size, and format them for a smaller page? Seriously, do they think people are printing out these pdfs? Sure, a few may, but the majority I am sure are viewing on a computer device. Open up an app like Flipbook and look, there are several articles excerpted, and the print is definitely legible and easy to read.

Now some magazine sites have opted for a ‘touch’ version of their sites for tablets, but as an owner of an iPad 1, the memory requirements are too much many times [thank you Apple] and causes Safari to close constantly. And just try to bypass the ‘do you want the desktop or touch version’ or ‘download our app’ intro page, and have the damn site remember your choice. eWeek is the most egregious perpetrator of this, but I am sure other sites have the same issues.

All I want is to be able to see the content folks, so try not to block me over and over, or you may find I am not the only one who has moved on…….just a thought.

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