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Think Quarterly: 7 things I hate about Google’s new online magazine without having read a word

March 24, 2011 One Comment

I confess to not having read Google's new online magazine Think Quarterly. But because they've decided to offer the primary desktop version of it as page-turning online magazine, here are seven things I already hate about it.

Think Quarterly cover

The cover of the page-turning abomination

1 Font too small

Like most online magazines that use page-turning technology (to mimic a paper magazine effect), they look like they've  designed it for print and then converted it to be an online magazine. That means they've used a font size that's too small so to read anything comfortably, you have to zoom in. Then zoom out to change page. Then zoom in. Then out. In. Out. Hokey cokey.

A spread

The font is small and squitty

2 Font too straggly

Again, because they've designed it for print, they haven't thought the font through well and it's horrid and spindly and squitty.

3 Stop moving about

Maybe in some sort of abomination of Fitt's Law they thought it would be helpful if, when you moved the mouse towards something (EG some text you want to read), the something moves towards the mouse. This isn't helpful - it just means you overshoot the target and have to move the mouse back 10% towards where you started.

4 I feel seasick

I'm one of those wierdos that likes to move the mouse pointer to where I'm reading. If I move the mouse, however, the whole of the text moves, making me feel ill.

5 I can't copy and paste

Because the mouse is being used to move the whole screen about, you can't copy and select text. Great.

6 Navigation is awful


Choose a dot then a page number. That's clear.

Once you're in it, navigation is awful. To get to another article, you first choose one of four dots and then select the page numbers you want. The page numbers? How's that a useful way to navigate - that's why we invented page titles for webpages so we wouldn't have to work out URLs.

7 You can't share or link to it

One side effect of the awful navigation is that the content can't be shared or linked to. There are page-turning platforms that do allow this - but all the content in Google's case is on one URL (making it terrible for SEO ironically). So if I want to share an article with someone I need to copy the URL of the homepage and then give detailed instructions on how to get to it - click the dots, then again, then scroll, then this then that then zzzzzzzzz.

Good things

The mobile and ipad and HTML for desktop versions look good, though ... And I'm sure the content's fine. I'll go and have a read.

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One Comment »

  • David Prince says:

    To be fair, it looks like the printed book is the primary medium for Think Quarterly. The book is sent to partners and advertisers - that the site even exists goes beyond what most corporate marketing departments let loose into the wild.

    The site appears to be an afterthought to let the rest of us see what we'd otherwise be missing out on. And I would've missed out on that if it hadn't been for your post.

    Incidentally, I completely agree about the print-to-web 'page turning' solutions - they provide an awful user experience. On the other hand, they provide a cheap, quick turnaround and perfect-layout solution for print publishers.

    You can download the Think Quarterly book as a PDF, or read the articles on the site (properly formatted for the Web!) by scrolling down the page a bit...

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