The Online Magazine

- - The Future

I haven’t really paid much attention to online magazines because I think websites should be websites and magazines should be magazines and when they try to mix those roles it turns to shit. I especially hate that online reader that allows lazy publishers to turn their newsstand version in an unreadable online/downloadable version. A computer screen is not a piece of paper and people who are sitting in front of their computer screens are in work mode or information gathering mode not hang out and enjoy a good page turner mode.

A contributor on Photo Rank submitted a link (here) to Gutter Magazine (here) and I have to say it’s the first time I’ve thought “that’s how a magazine should look online.” My favorite feature is that I can read it backwards, which is how I read all magazines and the navigation bar on the bottom just feels like the perfect tool for reading an online magazine. Well done Gutter.


There Are 28 Comments On This Article.

  1. Agreed, nice layout. I’m curious whether it’s my old hip-free attitude but I simply can’t read more than a couple paragraphs on screen without getting figity and my eyes getting buggy. For me, nothing replaces the page.

    Is it me?

  2. The Kindle ( and other more advanced e-paper may bring magazine publishing to electronic devices, but I agree with Bruce that real paper and more traditional magazine layouts remain more readable for me. Web based content, although wonderful in its own way, remains distinct and different.

    It’s sad that a lot of magazines are changing their formats to look more web like, and dumbing their content to support cross-publishing of their content. APE has it right, “a computer screen is not a piece of paper.” Paper, for words, and especially images not only has a special quality, both visual and tactile, but has a persistence that the web lacks.

    I’ll often leave a magazine open to a page with a wonderful photo, or even a great article, so that I can glance at it several times as I do other things. I will revisit a web site, I guess… but not that often for the same reasons.

    Like cinema and video, web sites have more dynamic than static quality. There should be a strong place for both as distinct vehicles for different content.

    Is the grass greener on the web? I think it’s just a different place. I hope print sticks around as print, even though I love a good web site.

  3. @ Bruce. It’s not you. There is a conversation under way in the “web magazine” world about text. so we’ll see what the best way to view is pretty soon one hopes.
    @ PE any thoughts on the text thing? Fonts etc…?

  4. Kinda interesting, I guess. I’m a little tired of the point and shoot party pix/fashion stories. And after spending all day on the computer shooting, fixing, emailing, promoting, conversing, about the last thing that I want to do is wait around for low budget, lo-res images to load in and further burn my retinas. On the couch, beer in one hand, possibly a channel changer nearby, and a printed piece of something in my lap is how I see it.

    According to my market research, (aka, my fourteen year old daughter) magazines are still cool. She lives on her laptop but then I see it turned off and the legs are crossed and out comes Us Weekly and Teen Vogue (“the best” fashion magazine). It is just that with all the options magazines can’t be a dominant as they were (which gets back to that dayrate discussion). But I don’t believe they are going away.

  5. i have to say, (not to sound like a rabid old geezer, which i will) i really see nothing new or original in any of these photographs…i know it’s all the rage to be all about early hip hop or mid eighties style, but really, how about getting off the bandwagon and showing us something new?

  6. I wasn’t really commenting on the photographs (which I’m not a fan of) or the text just the navigation but I guess it’s hard to ignore when you show it to a bunch of photographers.

  7. ‘I wasn’t really commenting on the photographs (which I’m not a fan of) or the text just the navigation but I guess it’s hard to ignore when you show it to a bunch of photographers.’

    when i said ‘show us something new’ that was a burst of rage director not towards our old shipmate ‘a photo editor’ but generally towards all the snapshot style photographers…

    maybe it’s time for my rabies shot…

  8. I agree, but I wasn’t a fan of that style the first time around. Doing it now without twisting it on its head somehow feels like being the last remaining grunge musician.

  9. I don’t think print is going anywhere, BUT it is getting harder and harder to start a magazine from scratch and ad revs are dropping off. There wil always be print, but you’re going to see a lot of younger talent migrate to the web mostly because they cant’ break into the glossy market.
    But that’s just my opinion. I guess what I dug about Gutter is that it’s more of a ‘zine. Start up, little money, scrappy.
    here’s another web only mag for you to check out, more on the high end side. :

  10. BackAsswards

    Re: Gutter, maybe it’s me, or maybe your server is slammed, due to APE-directed traffic, but I could not figure out the navigation at all. At least the revolutionary navigation. Slow loading, and hard to comprehend. I’m not sure if I ever really saw the meat of the magazine.

  11. Hey PE:

    Often, I agree with you on many things aesthetic, but I must say I am not impressed with this design or nav, and especially not the content.

    In fact, most webzine navs are painful to use… if you ask me, the internet is about A) informational media (like this blog) and B) multimedia-media (interactive and motion).

    I’m not saying there shouldn’t be webzines, but I just haven’t seen a single one I can stand to look at for more than 10 seconds.

    There’s a dearth of good webzines that aren’t just some bad zine, minus the photocopy money, or basically a jpeg version of their print mag (ie: NY Times online is great in place of a newspaper, but I’d rather see the print version of T than the online one).

    I just don’t understand why nobody appreciates the internet as it’s own medium and why it’s treated as a low-budget replacement for paper.

    Really, starting a mag doesn’t require THAT much money if you don’t want to spend it. I mean, i-D was started on a photocopier for chrissake. Kids in my highschool did photocopied zines and that was back in the pre-indesign/quark days… they were all cut and tape jobs.

    Maybe I’m being to critical here, but I just think still-image, written-word print zines on the web are a plain old lazy excuse for a magazine…

  12. Actually, I have to add:

    My favorite print-zine-on-the-web has to be:

    To be honest, it’s kind of the same thing after a few pages and the content often looks like many of the many pointless, trendy art zines, but I really like that they take a print mag and turn it into something with interactivity and motion in a really simple HTML type of way.

  13. the moral of the story is…don’t show things to photographers there’s a 90% chance of getting a vicious reaction
    some positivity folks!

  14. I’m happy to have found someone who reads magazines backwards like myself!

    I read backwards constantly.

  15. Just to add in, I read backwards if I’m at the news stand. Once I buy it I read it in the right direction.

    I know that for a while there was an emphasis on fitting all the info on one screen, without scrolling, but really everyone understands scrolling. I find content easiest to read online if I scroll down and click “next” when I get to the bottom. I don’t really think anything has to change dramatically. What needs to happen is great content has to be readily available, and easy to find. That’s it.

  16. How ’bout this for an interesting interface:

    Click the three MODE buttons in lower right, and watch the transformation of the interface. The Mosaic mode is amazing. I have not read the full text, but I think this guy set his camera with an intervalometer to shoot an image every five minutes, 24/7. As they kill the whale he shoots faster. He calls it his “photographic heartbeat”.

    Now just try THAT with a paper magazine!

  17. @17: Nope. It’s not mine. I think it’s some designers out of Italy or something.

    @PE: I read magazines backwards too. You should go check out the magazine rack at Kinokuniya books in Rockefeller Center. It’s all Japanese magazines, which were MADE to be read from right to left, so you would probably find yourself going right to left. I do. It’s kind of like the sensation of seeing the toilet water spin the opposite way in the southern hemisphere: odd and disorienting but somehow satisfying. You would love it. ;-)

  18. This post makes me very happy… happy to find out there are others that read magazines backwards. I thought I was some sort of freak… well, that is still likely the case, but now for one less reason!


  19. @24: My favorite are the Japanese hair magazines (men’s).
    I have never seen so many boys with overly preened hairdos.