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Common Magazine UX Design Problems

at Magazine UX design, User experience
Common digital magazine UX design problems (woman at desk mildly stressed)

At Flip180, we’ve thought a lot about the topic of magazine UX design. Not a day goes by that we aren’t dealing with the repercussions of good, bad or indifferent UX choices. We usually are trying to “fix” other people’s UX mistakes. Sometimes, we’re just trying to improve upon our own UX choices. Let’s face it: UX goes bad eventually. Habits and norms change. They just do. So how do you adapt?

One of the best problems in the world is to be at the stage of discovering that you have “bad UX”. That means things are working in almost every other aspect of your online presence, and now you’re seeing bottlenecks arise from an imperfect user experience for hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of engaged visitors on your website. The issues show up as easily discernible, specific navigation issues in your site analytics, those areas of your funnel that leak out visitors midway instead of moving them along toward your defined goals.

Congratulations on your awesome new problem! So here’s how to know if your periodical or heavy-content website needs a UX retool at a particular high-value sore spot.

A maze representing common magazine UX issues

Common magazine UX design problems

Massive targeted traffic, but nobody’s pressing the subscribe button?

This is the problem of prospects not even getting to the CTA.

You spend on big campaigns that go nowhere.

If you have traffic and leads and KPIs jumping around, but you’re not getting at least 2% sales from all that hard work, you’re just making a mistake somewhere.

You can’t make heads or tails of your Google Analytics.

Maybe you’ve given up trying. You shouldn’t! You can’t afford to fly blind without an eye on your KPIs! Key performance indicators are essential to understanding if your site is doing everything it should. It allows you to know if you’re getting enough traffic, converting enough of it, and getting enough of them to become repeat customers. Most of your marketing strategy will honestly grow from understanding your analytics.

Your site’s navigation is confusing or incomplete.

If people can’t find the product or service or content, that’s just on you. Rethink how you’ve arranged things. If spacing and room is an issue, rethink your entire navigation design. Form should always follow function, never the reverse. Elsewhere, we cover this in a special post on UI problems.

Calls to action (CTAs) are missing or not optimized.

If people don’t know where to click when the urge to buy strikes, don’t wonder any further why you‘re not getting conversions. It’s impossible without the right CTA built in at the right points in your magazine UX design.

Landing pages are too cluttered, not digestible, or not optimized toward clicks.

A good landing page should look like one of the patterns below. If it doesn’t, you’re begging for people to give up in frustration.

Your funnel is broken.

If your site doesn’t send qualified marketing leads down the path of becoming sales-qualified leads, then you’re doing it wrong on a grand scale.

The cart drops items, people, orders, or all of the above.

The ultimate goal before a sale is getting them to put something in the cart. If you screw it up from there, woe be upon you, for you do not deserve the sale.

Your CRM is broken or nonexistent.

Once someone buys from you, do you snub your nose at them ever after? Unless you’re selling junk, you should be courting, even expecting them to buy again! If not, you’re just not arranging the storefront properly.

Site color scheme is sending the wrong signals.

Are you a gaming magazine but using a pastel color scheme? If so, you’re just not thinking about your demographic (anywhere from preschool kids to 35 year olds, but mainly teens and 20-somethings who are into the colors of raw power — black and red with highlights in yellow and white).

Your search results bring up the wrong service or product page for the query.

Yes, your level of SEO optimization can be a US factor, too! Specifically, if your structured data is there, but off, then you’re literally going to the trouble of pointing people to the wrong landing page, article or blog post. Hang your head in shame! Better yet, go stand with your nose in the corner!

Your reader gets…lost?

Huh? Where’d they go? You know this one, right? The reader seems to get lost, doesn’t finish the content they started, and never even got to the CTA at the end or mid-point of an article. This problem is actually one of the most important and most frequently overlooked — even by magazine industry agencies! There is good news here. This, too, is all your fault. That means there is a very intuitively logical fix for it.

Most common magazine UX problems

Strategies to address above magazine UX design issues

Hold a formal group review session of your UX.

Invite the whole team and some non-experts to help you think through each and every facet from the full picture down to the granular sub-menu item wording.

Review each landing page, outside and behind the scenes.

Make sure your content, copy, images, calls to action, and structured data and other SEO elements are pointing users in the right direction. Make sure your sales expert understands the value of it all.

Scrutinize your click analytics.

If people aren’t clicking your key CTAs, it’s time to rethink them! Digital magazine ux design requires that your magazine survive into the future, so it’s important to understand your CTAs better if people just whiz by them in droves.

Review your color scheme.

Take this part seriously. Your logo color choices and overall impression should ultimately bow to your brand and what your want that brand to stand for, not the other way around.

Analyze your conversion funnels.

If they drop or mislead, they’re trash. Revamp them. Start over if needed to understand clearly where they’re supposed to lead each customer profile (lead type).

Consider push notifications.

Users today are getting notifications right to their device screens. It’s sexier than email for many, and Millennials are already more branded on push notifications over email. According to OneSignal (disclaimer: we love using it),and business info site BusinessOfApps, 5% push notification recipients engage with the notification eventually. Opt-in rates vary depending on the device.

  • Android Push Notification Opt-In Rate: 91.1%
  • iOS Push Notification Opt-In Rate: 43.9%
  • Web Push Notification Opt-In Rate: 10%

Android devices are automatically opted in to push notifications. Put simply, your prospect may be too busy to stop and scour through email headlines, but chances are they keep their screen notifications list clean and simple.

Review your CRM methodology.

Do you use a tool? Why or why not? Rethink the entire setup if you’re not handling past buyers as future leads. In truth, there’s no lead like a former buyer! You already know they want what you have!

Avoid spamming the prospect.

It happens. They sign up for push notifications or email, but stop clicking somewhere along the way. It’s no sin to be overlooked, but you should be paying attention to being conspicuously upfront about it with a message asking them if it’s gotten old or if they’re really still into receiving your messages, but have simply been too busy. By doing so, you force them to make a choice. If nothing else, they remember making the choice and you are favorably branded as the brand who pays attention. Under best conditions, however, you allow them to re-choose to consume your content, which is a pretty nice honest trick to have up your sleeve.

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Consider adopting a 360UX™ perspective.

If your reader can’t access your content (the reason you even have a magazine or other type of periodical), then you’re just not thinking in a 360UX™ way yet. Think about how you or your teen uses technology. Now apply that to your audience. In short, if the reader can’t find you online, subscribe to your print and digital editions, listen to the parts they can’t read while exercising or traveling or waiting in the doctor’s office, then you need to rethink how you’re going to hold the attention of your audience. Many magazines out there are doing this already. We go into all this in our new Ebook on 360UX™, our own little magazine UX design guidebook for the 2020s.

Get help if you get confused.

Contact Flip180 to get help with your Magazine UX! That’s right, we’ll answer your initial magazine ux design questions for free and help you to understand where to focus next. But we recommend you have re-read this article and make your own thorough notes before the email, include them and any linking URLs to screenshots, etc. If you need to attach images directly rather than by upload URLs, then feel free to email me directly at vee @ flip180media . com (okay, you’re going to have to delete the bot-confounding spaces first). Then leave a number so we can get back to you with possible solutions. Just reach out.

Download the 360UX ebook
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