How to make positive meaningful experiences with iPad-magazines

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Mathias Klausen
  • Trine Thomsen
4. term, Experience Design, Master (Master Programme)
Apple’s iPad is by media professionals considered a possible game changer in the struggle to win back the economic value of journalistic work following the devaluation of written news, which extensive and free internet publishing has caused. Throughout the thesis, this is studied from a user point of view, and the thesis focuses on clarifying how digitally published iPad-magazines have a future.
The thesis is based on comprehensive empirical studies of five iPad-magazines carried out within a target group consisting of 18-36 year old university students, who throughout the thesis are described as lead users. These studies result in a number of guidelines and a concept for a new iPad-magazine that meet the expectations, needs and demands of the target group. The concept and guidelines collect and visualize the findings of the studies and make out a framework that suggests how publishers should design a future iPad-magazine to optimize the possibility of offering positive meaningful experiences to the reader.
By applying the approach of analytical generalization, it is made probable that the findings of the thesis apply to designing iPad magazines in general.
The studies are carried out in four chapters each giving a deeper understanding of the users’ needs and wishes. Through a data driven method, the first chapter aims at recognizing themes that are significant for the user experience of reading a magazine on an iPad. Two focus groups consisting of respectively four and five people are asked to explain and show how they use the iPad in general, how they interact with iPad-magazines and which physical magazines they read. The analysis from these focus groups results in five themes: Usability, functionality, content, price and language. On the basis of these themes or selection parameters, five specific iPad-magazines are picked as analysis cases for the remaining user studies, and the final problem of the thesis is formulated at the beginning of the second chapter:
How can an iPad-magazine be designed to make out the framework for creating positive meaningful user experiences on the basis of
1) a representative research field of five iPad magazines; Inside, Illustreret Videnskab+, Zinio/Total Film, Project and Zite
2) lead users as informants and co-developers of a concept for a magazine?
The second chapter subsequently describes how two new focus groups test the case magazines. The purpose of these initial tests is to observe the participants’ immediate reactions and experiences when buying, downloading, interacting with and reading the magazines.
In the third chapter the same participants are called in again a couple of weeks later to measure the experience over time. It is now possible to observe which magazine elements create a long lasting effect, and which elements merely create an immediate effect that weakens over time. These observations enable us to find a way to design an iPad-magazine that offers users a meaningful reading experience, which, consequently, increases the likelihood of users buying more issues of the same magazine for a long period of time.
The fourth chapter focuses on a creative workshop with participants from the target group, where the participants go from informants to co-developers. Inspired by the workshop’s results, we designed a new iPad-magazine application concept called MitMagasin. MitMagasin visualizes a personalized magazine that allows the users to customize the content from their own preferences and pick articles from a database of tagged content. By paying per article, the user is only paying for what is valuable to the individual.
During the four chapters a theoretical model is developed on the basis of the findings in the analysis. By each chapter, the model is extended with a theoretical layer adding depth to the theory of the thesis. The final model consists of four levels. The first two levels take the theory from a general experience level with Boswijk et al.’s five stages of experiencing to a product level with Shedroff’s theory on meaningful product experiences and Forlizzi & Battarbee’s user-product-interaction. Then the model moves to a third level of digital products with Rubinoff’s four elements of user experiences and Jensen’s PLUS-values. Finally, a level of iPad-magazines is added. This level offers explicit tools against which the user experience of an iPad-magazine can be measured to determine if a given magazine is able to offer the reader a positive meaningful experience.
Publication date1 Aug 2011
Number of pages222
ID: 54532624