Rolling Stone mag: “Downsizing” to the Jones to keep in sync with The Guest Experience

Another goody from Monday’s New York Times, “The Classic Rock Magazine Is Swithing to a Smaller, Rack-Friendly Size” by Richard Perez-Pena.

First, kudos to Mr. Jann Wenner, chairman of Wenner Media (owner of the magazine), for having the vision to fix something that by many arguments wasn’t even broken. Sure, their new stand sales are off, but who’s aren’t?

Aside from all the talk about saving money and increasing news stand sales one of the key insights comes from the next to last paragraph of all places:

“In the large format, long articles often turn up as daunting expanses of almost uninterrupted type. With the revision, such pages are smaller and less intimidating, and more likely to be broken up with photographs. Sections filled with shorter items look less cluttered with fewer of them on a page. Smaller design changes give the pages a slightly airier, cleaner look.”

Translation: Rolling Stones readership is becoming more and more accustomed to internet based reading. This is not only a shift in format but in reality a step back towards the center of guest expectations and their experience with the magazine.

Bottom line: Be as creative and inventive with the IA / UX / UI as you want but if you miss the expectations “sweet spot” you’re going to have a site that looks great but discourages engagement. Save the energy of those innovative thoughts and feelings for other kinks in your biz model.

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