A look into the future?
The Indigo Experience

Full image.

The Indigo interface.

Full image.

The Indigo Experience.

ramón Alberto Garza, the editor who created Reforma in Mexico City 11 years ago, and Eduardo Danilo, who designed it, have come together again on a new project that sets the stage for what I would like to think is the future medium of news and design.

Indigo magazine (or “The Indigo Experience” as it is called), is a new online publication that combines print and web tools to provides a unique experience. If you can forget about your mouse and the fact that you’re looking at a monitor, it’s really like reading a magazine that actually moves. Finally someone applied real interactivity to a publication!.

One of the advantages is that you download the magazine (in a 17 MB flash player file) then play it in your computer at full screen resolution, so there are no bandwidth problems or lost connections.

The navigation is simple and straightforward. Achieved by using universally recognized icons and concise drop-down menus, the reader has no way to get lost. Options to select a page or go from page to page are efficient and just right.

The use of color is excellent throughout, clean yet colorful, elegant yet not boring. And color-coded sections still work!

Type is not only clear and modern, it also helps the navigation process. The use of the trademark Danilo colored type is perfect, though in order to accommodate this new medium the font for the stories is larger to make reading easy. The two-column layout gives us the right paper magazine “feeling”, while at the same time makes the whole thing work in your screen or print (if you decide to download the PDF version).

Moving photos and illustrations, embedded videos, video commentaries and some music contribute enhance the whole experience. However, some of the animations and pages don’t live up to the rest of the design.

I think this should be a wake up call for all of us in the business. While a lot of people are discussing whether newspapers will be big or small, maybe we should accept the fact that more people go on line to get their information and entertainment than to the newsstand, and start thinking of new ways to innovate and take editorial design to a new level. Surely the traditional printed medium has many years of life ahead of it, and I still enjoy and love the feeling you get when you hold your page in your hands, but let’s not be dinosaurs, let’s not die with newspapers, let’s evolve! Indeed, Indigo could be the Model T of a whole new way of news design.

Maybe Adobe’s next big application will be some sort of cross between Indesign and Flash. Maybe.

Your Thoughts (3 comments)

2006-09-18 by DIEGO

Not so new

www.abusemagazine.com had that idea some time ago...

2006-09-18 by Rob Weychert

Two Steps Back

If this is the future, it sure looks a lot like the past. Never mind the fact that this idea is not new; it does nothing to take advantage of what the web has to offer things of substance, as opposed to things of style. The only thing that really differentiates this from a printed publication is the fact that I don't have to leave my house to get it, and it won't take up any space on my coffee table. If those are the only advantages the medium of the web has to offer, then why is everyone so excited about it? Indigo's format is inaccessible, invisible to search engines, and monstrously bulky. Boo.

2006-09-18 by aj kandy

Three Steps Back

This isn't new at all. Things like the Zinio Reader software have offered the same kinds of "3d turning page" faux-interactivity for literally years. In reality it's just a form of Digital Rights Management, encapsulating copyrighted content in a proprietary interface. It's neat, i suppose, but I'm not going to wait to download a 17MB file that offers me not even a tenth of the functionality of the current Web, which is to say, hyperlinking, cut and paste, saving images, and the speed of XHTML and CSS (presentation separated from structure). Plus, this gives a proverbial middle finger to visually impaired Web users who might use screen-reader software; at the same time, as mentioned by Rob Weychert, it's impenetrable to search engines. Bad, bad, bad.

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