Upgrades Its Digital Magazine Upgrades Its Digital Magazine

Not too many days ago — a week? two weeks? — I opened up The New Yorker‘s digital edition to find a number of things (features) had changed. The initial page has new icon features (if that’s what they’re called) on the upper right. By clicking on the three horizontal bars to the far right you’ll see the page shown immediately below show up. It allows you to look at thumbnail scans of the pages of the magazine, like so:

This is a big improvement over the previous thumbnails — they were too small (on my laptop anyway). Now you can clearly see the text and the graphics.

If you click on the magnifying glass on the tool bar you’ll go the archive search page shown below (you can search either the magazine’s entire archive, or just the selected issue — your call). That’s no different than the earlier design. The new archive search page looks different than the previous archive search page — you’re shown the matching results — but it acts nearly the same as the old one.

Here’s where I’m hoping they go another step further the next time there’s an upgrade. If I type in (as I’ve done) “Thurber” in the search box, a seemingly random list of Thurber’s appearances in the magazine’s entire history shows up. You see above the first two results: the first is from Dec. 07, 1957, and the second is from Oct. 29, 1979. What’s frustrating — and what was frustrating in the earlier incarnation of the search feature — is that there is no way to choose to view results in absolute chronological order. You can click on the year by year offerings (under the “Filters” option shown in the screen grab directly above), but even within those results, what comes up is not chronological. You are still left to sift through the results, ignoring the more contemporary results included.  An absolute chronological feature that would show each contributor’s appearances in the order they were published would be a most helpful feature to add to the site. Not being a technical person, I’m not sure the technology is there for that kind of precision result, but as The Beach Boys once sang, “Wouldn’t it be nice?”


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