I captured this shot in a Minneapolis lunch spot after I found myself transfixed by the publication that I otherwise never would have picked up.

I thought it a great example of how digital design processes can benefit from doing and observing what Garr Reynolds calls “going analog.”

Four things I took away from this:

1. Show people the big picture. The typical reading format forces people to take in information sequentially and in bites. But consuming info that way requires a pre-existing interest or level of commitment on the part of the reader. We often try to manufacture this by plastering attention-grabbing copy and fancy graphics on the cover. When you allow people to quickly and easily scan an entire publication, you raise the probability that they a) will actually understand the essence of your publication and b) find something that genuinely interests them. New touch screen technologies could make this alternative way of presenting information much more feasible.

2. Open it up for them.  Similar to the above, people aren’t likely to open up your book or magazine unless they already know you and/or are interested in what they see on the cover. So open it up for them and facilitate their exploration.

3. Make it uber-contextual. The photo shows a copy of a newspaper dedicated to downtown Minneapolis news. I assure you, I am not a connoisseur of downtown Minneapolis news, but when I’m in downtown Minneapolis, that kind of information takes on an air of immediacy and relevance that makes it hard to ignore. What if local or neighborhood publications could push you interesting articles when you wander into their neck of the woods, and perhaps even based on your personal reading/search trends?

4. Catch people in their “micro” spare time. The placement here was optimal for catching people eating a quick lunch and/or waiting 3-5 minutes for their order. Mobile technology could give periodicals the ability to detect when a subscriber or potential subscriber is on the move, away from their computer, and willing to be distracted. 

Posted via email from Human Ventures