Turn the page.

“We shouldn’t assume that the general viewing public is an idiot. We should try to evolve the medium by making intuitive systems that educate the user – not design to what level we think they can handle”
— Joshua Davis (grabbed from the new-to-me InspireUX blog)

We’ve been seeing this interactive page-flipping thing over the last couple years. Like this online magazine for Wend:


And I just don’t get it. People flip pages in print magazines because that’s how magazines are put together. All the pages are connected on one side, the other side is open… you flip the page to turn to the next. And I get it that people are used to turning pages, so it’s “familiar.” But why would you bring a print magazine metaphor that is limited by the technology that created it to a digital medium that is only limited by the ideas for how you can interact with something?

Instead, how about something like a magazine that’s navigable via a Google Maps interface?


It uses a familiar interface and takes advantage of zooming and dragging to navigate around. You could imagine how it could be extended… having the table of contents link to the corresponding pages like you would with an address in Google Maps, the ability to put markers in the magazine with comments, making magazines portable offline by using Google Earth as a reader… and this is just a reincarnation of an already-existing interface. Why stop there?


A few years ago, there was a site for CBC Radio 3… you can view the archives via the link above. It was a magazine about music and design, and took advantage of what the internet and technology were doing at the time. I’m sure if it launched today, the idea of conversation would be an integral part of the experience.

We’re all for companies and brands embracing digital as a way to communicate (we’ve been recommending this since before we started Substance). So let’s get beyond simple page-turning and build rich interaction where people can communicate with brands through a conversation — interaction doesn’t have to mean just clicking on stuff. Why do what’s been done before when you can create the future?

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *