Ever pick up a good print magazine and just loved it even before you started reading? Ever stumble across a brilliantly-designed online magazine and the UI, layout and UX just took your breath away? Good UI design for magazines is seldom noticed. That’s part of what makes it so good.
You know a good online reading experience when you have one. For one thing, it’s continuous engagement. That means you never lose your place. This is essential to keeping readers engaged once they’re hooked, which is probably more often than you think.
No one method is likely to work for every magazine publisher. People are different, and business owners in particular are quirky. So with that in mind, here are some quick takeaways that will help you review your UI for improvement.
Strategic UI design for magazines
- Don’t copy just one or two other magazines. Copy ALL the good magazines, regardless of niche, and just start throwing out influences and tactics until you arrive at the perfect UI that suits your elusive concept of your brand.
- Consider how niche should guide your UI design from there. Is it a fashion or lifestyle magazine or feature section? Then why not integrate stylized mood graphics into the actual clickable real estate on your screen? How do leaders in your niche use the best tricks? How could you make a statement in contradistinction to that?
- Design for the scatterbrain. We know we’re all members of this group in 2020. We’re distracted. Give us back our focus…on the page! But don’t just focus for the average eye. Focus for the average eye of your target audience.
- Run test-readings. You don’t read or use your online magazine the same way others do. Everyone has a slightly different or even a widely unique method of reviewing a magazine. Some people jump right to a single section. Others flip pages before committing to reading anything inside. Get feedback from all these varied perusers and keep a reading diary just for perusing. Make everyone on your testing panel contribute.
- Create a culture of perusing by department. By department and across departments: share your favorite magazine UIs. Share reading stories. Share anecdotes. Share alcohol and good food. Make it fun. Make it your official Friday countdown. But share a taxi to and back from the party. Above all, make it worth repeating on a quarterly basis, so everyone knows why the magazine’s UI is that way, and almost everyone agrees on why it is or isn’t a good thing. And when new stuff happens in UI for your niche, be the first one to point it out to the team.