More on the magazine audience…

To continue again what I yacked about below… when I first came on board this publication and we started re-designing, our number one priority was not to alienate our existing audience. The redesign required some (though not a great deal) rethinking of the approach writers were taking to their assignments in terms of length and spec charts, that would help the design and editorial act as one cohesive (there’s that word again!) piece, and not require work on the part of the reader. The other priority, which is a little harder to sum up, was to make the redesign accessible, modern, new and mainstream, but not to be a smack in the head. If it worked, then the regular reader would know something had changed, but perhaps they wouldn’t immediately grasp what, perhaps they’d read the magazine, find it as familiar as always, but also pick up on some sort of re-invigoration of the content as a whole.

Generally, the reader response to the redesign was good. The readers were good enough to point out problems they had (like body copy being slightly too small for the older readers, which made us increase it in size from 9pt Garamond to 9.6), but they were also kind enough to encourage the progress that the magazine was obviously trying to make. The editor did address the redesign in the first issue with the new look, which I think inspired the majority of the responses from the readers. Since then we’ve made numerous small changes here and there, and one major overhaul a couple of months ago to the look of our interior pages, and I feel a lot better about the direction of the magazine in terms of design. I also still believe however that we’re not addressing our biggest problem – how to pull in a new audience and adapt to their expectations. Basically I think we have to decide if we are going to continue on our current path, and hope that a new generation of audiophiles is constantly growing and finding the magazine themselves, or decide if we can take an Apple iPhone like approach and build our new readership by making it incredibly obvious that this magazine and the products reviewed inside are exactly what they need in their lives, even though they weren’t aware of it. Does that make sense?

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Explore posts in the same categories: Apple, Future, Magazines, Readers, Why is it like this?

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