A recent study by the Bonnier Group (while publishes several magazines and apps) had some useful findings about tablet content.
The research methodology included in-depth interviews with individuals and the members of 15 focus groups made up of heavy consumers of print magazines, magazine websites and tablet magazines. We watched as people interacted with their favorite print magazines, and with digital magazines from a variety of media companies including Bonnier, Hearst, Conde Nast and Time Inc.
Additionally, the findings were interesting in show consumer behavior. Here’s a a few quotes from what they found. be sure to read the whole article.
- A NEW TABLET VERNACULAR: Maybe “iPad” is a verb. Study participants saw using their tablets as an end in itself. They said they considered themselves “doers” rather than “readers,” and that the activity they engaged in wasn’t “reading,” “playing,” or “surfing” – they were simply using the iPad. One focus group even suggested the need for a new term for this experience: “iPadding.
- A NEW DECISION HIERARCHY: The decision process for engaging with a digital magazine is radically different than with a paper magazine. People have traditionally picked up magazines during downtime or for a specific purpose: when they want to relax, read on an airplane, or find ideas about a specific topic like wedding dresses, interior design, or what gifts to buy for the holidays. But when “iPadding,” researchers found that users pick up the tablet first and then decide what to do with it, marking a departure from the traditional user path toward engaging with magazine content.
- AN AFFINITY FOR ADVERTISING: People appreciate ads when they’re relevant and beautiful. The study also found that advertising, when relevant to the content and the user’s own interests, is a welcome part of the magazine experience. Participants said that when they’re passionate about a topic, advertising doesn’t interrupt, but adds value. Some of the positive words used to describe advertising included “artistic,” “informative,” “inspiring,” and “fashionable.”
- A BIT OF CONFUSION: People can’t always tell the difference between ads and editorial content. Participants revealed that they sometimes have difficulty distinguishing ads from editorial content in digital magazines – particularly when it comes to product reviews. In a tablet environment, each page stands alone and there’s less context to help the reader orient herself. This presents an important design challenge for publishers: there should be clear visual distinctions between ads and edit, and both need to add value to the user experience.