3 January 2010
Luke Wroblewski posted three videos of concepts for tablet readers. I had already seen the Time/SI video, but not the others.
Sure, the Kindle has made leaps and bounds already, pushing with it a whole market of similar readers trying to catch up. But there is still a long way to go, I believe.
I was particularly stuck with the video from Bonnier demonstrating their Mag+ device. It’s worth checking out.
The thing I particularly like about this research is their starting point. The folks at Bonnier state right up front that it’s about understanding the overall information experience first. They say:
The concept aims to capture the essence of magazine reading, which people have been enjoying for decades: an engaging and unique reading experience in which high-quality writing and stunning imagery build up immersive stories.
From the video, it seems they’ve designed the concept with close attention to the details of offline reading experiences. For instance, they mention the importance of the physicality of offline magazines. Covers, for one, do more than just communicate a title–they are visual icons we identify with. So they’ve designed the notion of a “cover” into the device
Another thought I quite like is the notion of completedness, or knowing where you are in the magazine and how much more you have to go. Offline, we get a sense of this as we flip through magazines; that is, we can feel if we’re at the beginning or end of a publication. So the researchers added information about position in the magazine to the Mag+ reader to account for this.
Note that accounting for elements of offline reading experiences doesn’t necessarily mean reproducing them one-to-one. The researchers at Bonnier get this. For instance, they criticize the sometimes-seen interaction of turning pages by pulling the corner of the screen and then having the “page turn” animate. Instead, they prefer the more digital-medium-ready interaction of scrolling.
Assuming many of the concepts explored in the videos are realizable–from technical, business and experiential standpoints–the forms of reading experiences represented in these three video can change publishing as we know it. It’ll be interesting to follow how tablet readers develop in the next few years.