More on Web Design Publications | September 24, 2005

A couple of weeks ago I bemoaned the lack of a good publication in the UK aimed at people in the interactive sector. While there are a lot of hobbyist magazines packed full of software reviews and “how to build a website for under £100” articles, there is very little aimed at the professional sector.

I guess Digit is probably the best Industry magazine around at the moment. While it does have its share of software reviews, you are more likely to see reviews of pro packages such as Softimage than hobbyist applications such as Freeway. It has a good good mix of news, articles and showcases, focused more towards the professional user. My main complaint is that the magazine has a big 3D bias, so you don’t often get that much web based info. However its worth a read on a Sunday morning if you happen to be in the coffee shop in Borders.

The other Industry magazine I occasionally read is Computer Arts. While it has its fare share of beginner tutorials, it does sometimes have interesting articles, interviews and portfolio pieces. However like Digit with its 3D bias, Computer Arts has a very strong Illustration and Photoshop Bias.

The magazine I most read is Mac User. Despite being a Mac magazine, it actually gives me a better overview of what is going on in the digital world than either of the previous magazines. The same is true of the Guardians excellent and recently re-branded technology supplement.

And it struck me, I don’t want a web design magazine at all, what I want is a good digital lifestyle and technology magazine. Magazines based on professions are always too niche and never really get the balance right. Sure web designers want to know about the latest software or techniques, but that’s not all they want to read about.

I want to read about the latest gadgets like the release of the iPod nano, about new technologies such as WiMax and about how industry is using blogging in new and interesting ways. I want to read interviews with people from flickr and google and articles about top web design and development teams. I want to read about the latest computer games, virtual currency and how some have a higher GDP than Singapore. I want to read reviews of the conferences and hear peoples thoughts on web 2.0. I’d like to see reviews of new sites, weblogs and podcasts as well as books and software.

Basically what I want is a professional and well written version of a blog, preferably in paper format. A periodical that covers all the week or months top digital lifestyle and tech stories in an intelligent and well written fashion.

Why not just read blogs? Well to be honest I do, but with around 1000 unread posts in my RSS reader, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find the time. What I’d like is a group of professional writers with the time that only a commercial enterprise can give, to filter all this information and provide me with only the information I really need to know. Being a commercial operation they would have more time than the average blogger so could report from conferences, visit design firms and interview interesting people. More time could be spent on crafting and researching articles, taking to the people that matter, rather than shooting off a quick blog post in 10 minutes of dead space. Also sometimes its just nicer to sit down with a cup of tea, away from your computer and read a nicely designed piece of print.

Traditional media probably aren’t going to do this, so maybe it is time for a group of talented bloggers to move from personal publishing to professional publishing. A few bloggers like Ben Hammersley have made the jump and the world of tech journalism is much better for it.

Posted at September 24, 2005 10:00 AM


Ara Pehlivanian said on September 24, 2005 11:56 AM

That’s a great idea! “The Blogger’s Digest” of sorts. I personally don’t read print magazines all that much, mainly for the reasons you cited but if something were in existance which contained all of what you wished for, I’d be one of the first signing up for a subscription.

Hmmm, could this be the beginning of something?

Matt Dempsey said on September 24, 2005 12:47 PM

I second that, I’d be the 2nd to buy a subscription ;).

Justin Halsall said on September 24, 2005 1:01 PM

I would definitely be in! Either for subscription or for helping this mag startup!

Bruno said on September 24, 2005 4:11 PM

Yes, you are right. We live with a information overload that doesn´t bring us any benefit. We need “filters” for this crazy load of information. Magazines have, on some subjects, that role but we talk about webdesign I think web is the medium and the effort of “control the noise” is ours.


Tom Loudon said on September 24, 2005 4:24 PM

I used to read .Net but found - as you mentioned with others - that it is not really aimed at professionals.

I would be very interested in said publication. What about having guest articles giving web professionals the ability to get articles published in print?

Ian Fenn said on September 24, 2005 6:20 PM

I’ve been involved in the odd publishing venture here and there over the years. It’s not an easy business. I’d say a weblog or download (remember Design in Flight?) which aggregates the content Andy describes would stand more of a chance of succeeding.

Jeremy Flint said on September 24, 2005 6:22 PM

There used to be a UK web mag called Cre@teOnline. It was owned by the same company as .NET, but was discontinued a few years ago for some reason.

It was semi-credible. A lot better than .NET, which they tried to replace our Cre@te subscription with.

Dmitry Zlygin said on September 25, 2005 6:14 AM

Here in Russia we have one that confirms to your requirements - ‘Computerra’ (one of my favourites). And it has strong web support site also. It’s only point that it’s in russian language.

PS While reading record I had feeling, that you’re describing that magazine :)

JD said on September 26, 2005 9:47 AM

That is an absolutly fantastic idea! When are we going to start it up? Almost an A List Apart but with a bit more content per issue and based on newspapers style, as in regular coulmns.

Andy Budd said on September 26, 2005 10:00 AM

Well I’d love to be involved somehow, but setting something like this up is a huge amount of work and I’m far too busy with Clearleft and the book at the moment. However if somebody wants to run with the idea, I say go for it!

Gordon said on September 26, 2005 12:02 PM

Have to admit that Design in-flight already does what you want I think? Love the idea though, and I’ve toyed with doing something like this on an occasional basis before but the problem with a lot of the tech content is that it gets so out of date so quickly.

Andy Budd said on September 26, 2005 12:15 PM

Design-in-flight is very good, however what I’m talking about is more of a digital lifestyle magazine. One that has a broader range interests and targets anybody with an interest in the digital world. Maybe a cross between design-in-flight, and gizmodo, with some game, blog, podcast and movie stuff thrown in for good measure.

You are right that content does go out of date very quickly. However as somebody who no-longer has time to read his RSS feeds, its not so much of an issue. Also, while content may not be as current as if it where on the web, a commercial publication written by professional writers would be able to get different angles on stories and spend more time crafting them.

Chris Campbell said on September 26, 2005 1:06 PM

Hey all,

Check out over the next week or so and we might have something of interest to you. We are nearly finished the first version of our soon to be monthly magazine, Treehouse.

All of your ideas aren’t used, but some of them including interviews, features, book reviews, and important links from the month are included. The idea of a “digital lifestyle magazine” including sections on gizmos, games, posdcasts, and movies is great and I’ll pass it onto the team.

orlando said on September 29, 2005 6:48 AM

Digit is my favorite industry mag.can we have something like this for bloggers.

Matt Keogh said on October 4, 2005 10:29 AM

Just read the first issue of Treehouse magazine from Particle Tree. It’s available as a free PDF printout. Thought it was well worth a read and I think I’ll subscribe to the rest.

Lora said on October 25, 2005 7:03 PM

I agree that Digit is fine but I prefer to get any information on the Internet. I like the ability to communicate with knowledgeable people on forums, blogs and via e-mail. Printed magazines are more limited. I think I even spend more time at Digit Website than reading magazine itself.