I love magazines. I love reading them, holding them, and turning their pages. I love digesting what I read as well as the design I see. Good magazines are like good music albums, their articles (like songs) placed in a dynamic, specific order, packaged and designed as the artists saw fit to complement the whole, and crafted so as to be digested within a certain context. But, just as CDs are being replaced by single download MP3s (and the thought put into the order and design of albums seemingly going to waste), magazines are being replaced by multimedia websites, many times overwhelming in their content. With it, browsing has evolved into an art form in itself, where the accustomed user often leaps from site to site, content stream to content stream, grabbing what they want and ignoring the rest. Good or bad? Irrelevant question, I would argue, given that this trend is not stopping. Time to find new ways of giving users an online experience akin to sitting with that magazine and reading by the light of a setting sun. For traditionalists, that may mean an interface much like that offered by www.issuu.com.
As the editor and designer of a magazine, I’m surprised I hadn’t found this earlier. But here are some samples. Add these to your library and see what other magazines you might be able to read–on your laptop–by the light of a setting sun.