Usability is for Life, not just for Digital

Usability is for Life, Not Just For Digital

GARY POPE 26.08.2014 10 MINS

I once thought that children’s publishers would inherit the children’s market. When digital was about to explode a few years ago, I thought that the brains that practiced their art in the corridors of children’s publishing power would seize the day.

Nope. Not one bit.

​We bought this magazine as part of 'Magazine Saturday' in our house. The main reason we bought this particular magazine wasn’t any of the seven covermounted gifts intended to sweeten us up for the £4.00 ($6.90 in real money) hit we were about to take.

No, it was the fact that there were collectible posters of each of The Guardians of the Galaxy. All five in glorious technicolour to 'cut out and keep'. See above, it makes big noise about it being all five as well. 'Grab Every Guardian' the call-to-action says - happy days!

Only we couldn’t grab every Guardian.

Three instead of five

Because as you can see below, the wisdom of the doublesided layout meant the maximum number of posters my son Laurence and I could actually use was three. Not five. Three.

Unless I wanted Drax (and I’d have to forgoe the Rocket / Groot double team on Drax’s 'B' side), then the maximum number of characters I could actually have was two. A grand total of 40% of the as-advertised offer.

So, either someone is really, really dumb OR they want me to pay another £4.00 in order to collect all five. And that is a real scenario as I now have an annoyed six year old on my hands. But he knows what I’ll say and luckily has his mum’s sense of consumer integrity.

“That’s just silly dad. Don’t they know that they should make magazines so that you can use them? That just wouldn’t happen in an app”.

Delivering what you promise

The point is this. It doesn’t matter what the product is, if you’re going to promise something then you have to deliver it. And that means making sure that it is fit for purpose.

And the thing is, this doesn’t wash back on the publisher, it washes back on The Guardians. And because they are awesome and have indeed saved the Galaxy they are forgiven.

The publisher is not. They have big brains, have been making children’s stuff for yonks and frankly should know better. And you know what else? I can buy six apps for the money I just paid for your magazine. Is it any wonder that the model is breaking?

Usability is for everything. Not just apps.

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