For too long, The New Yorker was an example of how not to do a magazine's Web site (i.e., one stale page offering almost nothing useful to readers).
Admittedly, I had unrealistic expectations of what the site could be (one that was at once both cultured and striking in design, with complete, searchable archives).
These expectations careened into reality when the newyorker.com launched in mid-February, almost 76 years to the day the first issue appeared. After launch, I explored the site, and wondered whether it would have been better to stay offline.
Despite having the famous cartoons and articles, something has been lost in the translation from ink to bits.
Online, The New Yorker fails, so far, to carry the printed version's elegance—earlier designs of Salon were more "New Yorker" in look-and-feel than newyorker.com itself. For example:
- Rea Irvin's distinctive typeface is poorly anti-aliased on the main navigation menu;
- the editorial content is easily available, the reader services are buried at the bottom of the page;
- and the articles themselves become unreadable onscreen because of the use small text poured onto long, scrolling pages;
The online experience is new for the magazine, so I expect in time, The New Yorker will find its voice on the Web. And when it does, the site's forums might just evolve into a 21st century Algonquin Room online.