Magazines Are Killing The User Experience

It’s Pet Peeve Tuesday here at WhatItAllBoilsDownTo HQ and even though I have talked about news sites and engagement before, this time I’d like to point out the ways some online magazines are shooting themselves in the foot.

Magazines are good at SEO, as they should be. Magazines are mostly online versions of their newsstand counterparts so it makes sense to see a significant number of magazine articles as answers to my Google queries. Most of them do provide relevant content.

But: so many of these magazines are pimping their SEOed content to the point where they’ve made it unbearable to read. Today, out of the many magazines that do this, I am picking on Fitness Magazine as they have used every advertising trick in the book to permanently scare me away:

1. Articles spread out on multiple pages, usually over 10, leaving a mere paragraph and image per page.

Fitness Magazine: Where's the Content?

Fitness Magazine: Where’s the Content?

2. Ad/image-heavy pages that take a long time to load, aggravated by item #1, above.

3. Pop-over ads triggered by mouseovers and  settings. It gets to the point where you really cannot see the forest for the trees (the content for the ads!)

4. Interstitial ads between the multiple pages, at least 3-5 per article.

5. Pop-up ads triggered by mouseovers over words in the article (in this case: infolinks.)

6. Recommended “related” articles that are mostly paid content (in this case: outbrain.)

7. At least 10 other “regular” display ads surrounding the content.

Finally, many of the magazines don’t have a mobile version and all the above problems are acerbated when viewed on a mobile device (Fitness actually has a decent mobile version.) All of you who have spent frustrating minutes trying to find how to close a gray overlay on the web page know what I mean.

Look magazines, I realize that you need to make a living but I urge you to do a deeper analysis of the ads you are currently displaying. Run A/B tests to check effectiveness of the different ad formats and optimize the page accordingly. Look at other news sites and test their layout with your content.

As you tinker and optimize, think of the user experience and keep in mind that what you do has to power to scare away or keep us coming back. Your call.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s