Adding the layer of context to multi-touch magazines

Today is iPad day. With the launch of the iPad articles on the iPad are all over the place. And I think that is not for nothing, I expect some real impact from this new step in casual computing.
Among all the articles on the iPad I found some extra inspiration in the video of an interview with Jack Schulze from Berg London who was showing some new design principles that emerge from the iPad. A new approach to design content for magazine art directors. The biggest Dutch publisher of magazines in the Netherlands did the same in a way when they presented there example of translation of the Autoweek magazine.

But the video of Schulze triggered me with some other thoughts. What will happen if we adding an extra layer in the multi-touch magazine, the layer of context?

Watch the movie of the design for Bonnier by Berg. I found the way to navigate through articles and content very clever. I’m very appealed to the layers they use; one layer for navigating though the articles and one on top of it to navigate throught the content.

And seeing this I was thinking what will happen if an extra layer is added for context information. It is interesting of course with a device that will be connected all the time (with the 3G model especially) to get the context in. As creators of magazines content it is interesting to think of context sensitive elements. They can learn from sites like the beautiful Unlike travel-guides.
Of course it is also interesting for advertisers. We have a very smart radiostation in the Netherlands that do localized commercials combined with a national music programming. When you drive in your car from Amsterdam to The Hague the ads change from local stores and services depending the city you are. Kind of roaming advertisements.

It would be interesting if people can add stuff themselves of course. But these concepts have to wait to the next version of the iPad when a camera is integrated. Also a GPS chip will help the experience of course.

But in the end the iPad will trigger new kinds of magazine experience and will without a doubt extend these experiences step by step, in a way only Apple can. Interesting to see how the multitouch magazines will incorporate context of use and I can’t wait to these next steps.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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