The Tablet Magazine: a future vision for magazine devolution
Matthews, Justin Robert
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The popular medium of the print magazine is under extreme pressure to adapt to digital technology. With the rise of tablet devices opportunities exists to transform the magazine format to take advantage of the potential offered by digital technology – but which strategy or approach to adopt? In this dramatic period of transition, analysis of digital magazines reveals that they operate in a limited fashion inside ‘replica’ or ‘facsimile’ approaches. The result is a form of ‘skeumorph.’ The industry has been afraid to depart from the traditional look of a print magazine. Analyses of the structure or ‘essence’ of the magazine genre and the experience it offers at a deeper level, identifies properties which permit the creation of a model better suited to exploit the potential of the tablet. A new theoretical model is developed in which the concept of the ‘page’ is replaced by the concept of the ‘window’. Precedents such as methods of remediation and Baudrillard’s notion of the ‘simulacrum’ are tapped into as they offer a more flexible alternative to the replication of a print edition in digital form. This exegesis traverses research and theory to inform practice. The first (written) section includes a case study of the Wired magazine app. The second section (practice) builds on the analysis of the earlier section by undertaking a practical experiment in the creation of a prototype design that demonstrates how a more flexible model can operate. This exegesis concludes that the simulacrum provides a viable alternative to current practice.