Wired on Wired
Caution: this article is not meant for people who don’t like Wired.
Offline: The Magazine
I am and always have been a big fan of Wired. I like their “Californian Ideology”, their almost child-like enthusiasm and optimistic view on life and I like how they think technology can change the world in a techno-deterministic way. And because I am a big fan, I buy their magazines. Yes, that’s plural, because last year Wired expanded its family with an English and an Italian version. Calling them “versions” might give the feeling that they are pure translations of the American Wired, which “luckily” they aren’t. Luckily in the sense that I now have to buy two editions each month, the English and the American, since my Italian isn’t all that great.
For the people who are not known with Wired Magazine: they spend a lot of time and effort to create a visually appealing booklet with a focus on typography and visuals, but also include interesting articles on topics like technology, lifestyle, culture and business from renown writers and researchers. Reading it is, at least in my point of view, an experience in itself. And I am probably not alone in this, as shown here. At the moment there are 672,217 people who have a subscription and 82,357 people who buy it in newsstands, showing the magazine to a of 754,574 people.
Being print of course has its downside, for example the only possible interaction is that of (non-) linear browsing and the only “multimedia” that can be posted are images.
Online: The Website
Not everyone wants to spend money on the somewhat expensive (at least in the Netherlands) Wired magazines, and the people that do spend money on it don’t want the information-stream to stop each month after they’ve finished reading the current edition. This is where their websites come in. Each language has its own website (.com, .co.uk, .it), but to give a good example I will look at the American one.
This website has a magazine-style layout, creating a easy mental transfer from magazine to website. The main articles in the magazine are also available online. These digital alter egos have an added level of interactivity, not only because the articles can contain links to other articles and websites, but also because there is also an option to comment. A nice cross-over between the website and the magazine exists in the publishing of these online comments in the magazine.
But as said, not only the articles from the magazine appear on the website, a lot more are added online, varying from reviews to their famous how-to’s and different blogs. The presence of an infinite “magazine” for articles and the ability to continuously publish these articles (instead of having to wait a month) make the website a good medium for the people who want to read Wired’s content while sitting behind a computer.
On- and Offline: The iPad App
And then we have the iPad app. In May 2010 Wired has launched an iPad app, hereby granting the ability to combine both magazine and website in one device. Also, in 24 hours, the app sold a smashing 24.000 times.
As said on their website: the App includes the full U.S. print issue […] plus, the app contains some bonus photos, videos, and additional content. It can be bought from the Apple Appstore and costs a mere $3,99 per issue.
The app offers a lot of possiblities and invites the user to interact and navigate. For instance, articles (and ads) can contain embedded videos, the page-overview makes navigation to other pages easy and fast and images can be seen in an image-carousel.
Reviews of the app on other websites (1, 2, 3, 4) show both pro’s and con’s. Some pro’s are its handling with multimedia, the navigation (browsing the pages etc.) and its availability offline. The con’s are mostly its cost, its size for offline download (500+ MB) and the little focus on social media-related funtionalities e.g. sharing and discussing.
Because it is still in an infancy stage, there deffinately already are big advantages of the app. Personally I think it is a good step for Wired to take, because it expands their reach and is a good display of Wired’s focus on gadgets and technology.
Wired magazine will be digital from now on, designed from the start as a compelling interactive experience, in parallel with our print edition. Wired is finally, well, wired. (source: http://www.wired.com/magazine/ipad)
And maybe their ideology is right in this case, and the iPad app shows the future of magazines, evolving it from a static piece of paper to an interactive entertainment-ride.
A short promo of the Wired iPad app:
And a short movie to show what is possible with the app: