Remember when you created that online magazine with mixed medias? Yeah, don't do that again!

The Mixed Media Project
Image [cc] La Tête Krançien
At first it was really cool. Then it got really, really bad. Eventually, I had to just shut down the browser to escape the music and sensory overload!! A YouTube replay of Miley Cyrus at the VMAs?? No… I could actually sit through that. I'm talking about The Festival Issue of VENTS Online Magazine.

It isn't that the concept is a bad idea, but the final product is simply not very good. In fact, it is a good example of what NOT to do with online magazines and mixing medias. (I'll place a link to the magazine at the bottom, and you can click on it at your own personal sensory risk.)

Okay… where do I start?? Let me put a list out of what I think VENTS was wanting to do. Remember, good idea, bad result.

Good Ideas
  • They used Calaméo as the back-end product to create the magazine. Simple, straight-forward, process of creating an online magazine
  • A 146 pages of black background, white print, two-page spreads, with lots of dark images to blend in nicely
  • Short, interview style articles that were very easy to read and or skim
  • Actually worked pretty well with my iPhone (I'd probably be writing a different article if I hadn't opened it up on my PC)
  • Music and videos embedded into the articles related to the bands being interviewed
Bad Results
  • I'm still not a fan of the online magazines that attempt to look exactly like a glossy paper magazine. I really don't like the swishing sound that is made when you turn the virtual page, or for that matter, I don't like the virtual turning of the page, either!
  • Flash based from the PC browser
  • When mixing medias, it is important that the reader/listener/viewer maintain control of the different medias. Don't automatically start the music or videos. Let the user decide when to do that.
  • When you have media embedded into the product, make sure it works. I couldn't control the sound from the embedded soundbar. I had to actually turn the computer's volume control down because it was blasting as soon as I 'flipped' to the next page.
  • If you have control bars for the media, make sure they work. I couldn't find a way to turn off the music, and when I did find the media tool bar for the embedded video, none of the controls worked.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I initially thought this was really cool. An online magazine that talked about specific music festivals, specific bands, and gave me immediate access to information, text, links, video, and music to learn more about these festivals and bands. Good idea... something that the people behind the Van's Warped Tour should consider doing. But, MAN!!, don't overload me like that with automated media that doesn't work properly. I'm not sure if the problem lay with the magazine producers or with the backend company producing the format. However, it really ruined a good concept.

Okay… now that I've gone on and on about it, here is the link to the online magazine. I tested it in Chrome (bad), Internet Explorer 9 (bad), and on my iPhone 4s (good). If you are on a PC, you might want to turn your volume down before opening the link (otherwise your office neighbors give you funny looks for the rest of the day.) If you can make it through to page 146, you'll find one of my favorite bands featured there!!

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