Newsweek's Digital Failure

January 5, 2013

An open letter to Newsweek

The new "digital" magazine is awful. Here's why:

1. I don't own an i-Anything, nor do I have an Android device big enough to read a magazine on. (I'm not reading it on a phone.) I'm not buying a $300 to $700 device just for your magazine.

2. Reading this page, My first reaction is "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" Owners of "older" Kindles should just "read on another device" or "cancel and re-subscribe"? Really?

3. The web version is execrable. Here's why:

a. I have a "tablet computer" with a BIG screen (much bigger than an iPad), and yet I have to constantly fiddle with tiny little arrows and scroll bars in order to read each page.

b. The web version won't remember FROM ONE ARTICLE TO THE NEXT that I've selected portrait mode. I have to re-select portrait EVERY SINGLE TIME I go to a new article.

c. I spend my life on the computer. The last thing I want to be doing is fiddling with a bleedin' mouse EVERY PAGE in order to read your magazine.

d. I can't read the magazine if I don't have an internet connection. I can't read it on a train, for example, or on an airplane.

e. The "help" page (page two of the magazine) is for the iPad version. You couldn't make a help page that explains the user interface for the web version?

f. Honestly, didn't anybody TRY THIS OUT before unleashing it on the public?

You could fix this. JUST MAKE A PDF VERSION that I have to download with the subscriber's login and password THAT YOU ALREADY REQUIRE. No "password" on the PDF, please. It's a WEEKLY NEWS MAGAZINE, for Heaven's sake, not a book that people are going to want to read past next week. You don't need to lock it up and make it so hard to read.

William F. Dudley Jr.