While most digital publishers rushing to launch apps on the iPad store are packing their digital editions with new features and options, Sports Illustrated are taking the classic UX Design principle that ‘less is more’.
One of the most commonly used features of the iPad is its ability to quickly switch between portrait and landscape modes in the digital magazine. This is a headache for the developers who must program them as they must program for 2 resolutions. What most publishers have been doing is using this tool to switch between single page mode and double-page mode. This seems to have been incorporated into the industrial standard.
The problem that digital publishers have with this is that it is dictating to them how their content and publications are to be displayed. Well enough’s is enough as far as Sports Illustrated is concerned. In their recently launched iPad app they have decided to restrict how the user experiences their content. Their digital editions can only be viewed in landscape mode.
They believe that the “less is more” strategy is important when distributing their digital editions and I suppose I can see their point. They believe that their pages are best viewed in the landscape mode. So by restricting the possible outputs they are reducing:
• The time spent on designing the layouts, meaning that they can get the product to market quicker
• Overall size as additional designs mean more pages which means longer downloading time
• Disruptiveness to ad revenue. Not only do pages have to be reconfigured but so do the adverts.
With Sports Illustrated, if you’re holding the iPad vertically while using the app’s latest issue, the page won’t rotate like it used to. And you’ll get this odd error message at the bottom of the screen.