Lindsay – The Online Magazine with the Offline Approach

The Australian online magazine Lindsay undertakes the experiment of combing the benefits of digital and analog articles in order to let its readers focus on the content without distraction.

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In times of the bemoaned decline of print journalism, one might wonder if there is no way to combine the benefits of both, online and offline articles. Australian magazine Lindsay undertakes this experiment.

Information Overload?!

Recently, we found ourselves in a vibrant discussion at work. The topic: news-consumption on smartphones. Reading a full story from the first line to the last sentence has become a rare occasion, that we agreed on. Either because we get caught in what one could call ‘The headline-marathon’ (when we would rather jump from headline to headline to get a brief overview of everything that is going on). Or because we are too busy checking the links, i.e. cross-references, the article contains. Information overload? For sure yes! But … let us get back to that one later and introduce you to an Australian online magazine with an analog approach first.

When Analog Acts as a Model for Digital

Lindsay, the above-mentioned online magazine, claims to be digital with a print heart. Content-wise, the topic is ‘places’. Lindsay takes you to little cafés, shops, or cities, letting you feel their vibe, identity, and history – certainly the kind of content you could read either on- or offline. So what moved founder Beth Wilkinson to publish articles in the World Wide Web? The main reason, an undeniable one, is accessibility. The internet enables you to share content all over the world within an instant, the only barrier being a receiving unit and, of course, access to the internet. And in the first 48 hours Lindsay was accessed from over 30 countries.

Nonetheless, Beth Wilkinson, when designing Lindsay, did not want to ignore the potential benefits an analog magazine would have had – one of which she sees in the more focused reader’s attention. As a result, one will not find links in her authors’ texts, at least not to other articles:

“Less people read print publications and we spend more time on our phones, flitting from article to article and I wanted to avoid that. So you won’t find links to other articles that often distract readers and interrupts the reading process. I wanted to allow more space for people to finish a longer piece. […]”

Surely, the analog can serve as a source of inspiration for change in the digital sphere, as in this case. But completely doing without links is not possible for even Lindsay. You will still find references to e.g. restaurants, shops, or museums. To us very understandable, because from our user-perspective this is exactly one of the biggest benefits of the digital: immediate access to world-wide information. Which brings us to the BUT above.

The Question of the Right to Exist

If you read a restaurant review online and would not have the link at hand, what would be the consequence? You would go to Google or a similar search engine and look up the place yourself. The news page, however, would probably have lost your interest. Because, isn’t the power to – within an instance – choose what to read or watch or listen to the big advantage of the digital? To us it is. And it is what we expect digital content to make available in a consumer-friendly way.

Still, our discussion came to one more conclusion: we also love to read without being distracted or interrupted, to get lost in a story from its beginning to its end. Surely, digital content (if well researched and written) can provide this experience, too. But the analog newspaper or magazine still holds the first place in this contest.

Digital and analog both have their pros and cons. Where do you see them? Leave us your comment next to this blog post.