UX London: From Print to iPad

by Luke Wroblewski April 18, 2012

In his From Print to iPad: A Reading Experience presentation at UX London 2012 Harry Brignull shared shared a case study of designing a print magazine for the iPad. Here's my notes from his talk:

  • As designers, we often talk about the importance of failure but we rarely share the details behind our personal failures. We need to do this more often.
  • Project: bring the Week (a successful print magazine) to the iPad. The consensus was that the end result needed to mimic the print magazine.
  • By relative pixel size, the printed magazine was a much larger surface than the iPad screen. To adjust, the team decided to create section pages that contained excerpts of articles.
  • Stakeholders reacted very well to Keynote design, so the team built an iOS prototypes and ran usability tests. Which went really poorly.
  • People went to sections and flipped through them. The team had placed ads in between sections, which created a bad experience and people were getting lost in the magazine’s 3 tiered navigation.
  • There wasn’t enough of a transition between sections and article pages: the pages looked too similar.
  • Back buttons were confused with moving up a level and literally moving back a page.
  • The team changed the design to a two-panel system for section contents and articles. They re-labeled the back buttons with descriptive labels and changed the layout of article pages. This fixed most of the usability issues.
  • You have to evaluate your interface in context. There’s no substitute for testing your designs in the environment where they will ultimately be used.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, keep trying, and learning.