One layout is all you need

, . Filed under Web.

The Magazine (which is, as far as I can tell, an iPad-only magazine that you pay for) has been generating an inordinate amount of interest recently. I’m not really interested in the distribution ins and out of this magazine—I don’t own and will probably never own an iPad—but I do like the cut of the editor’s design jib:

… The Magazine’s articles won’t be laid out separately for portrait and landscape orientations. Articles won’t have custom designs at all. You won’t see any infographics, slideshows, or interactive panoramas. These multimedia features can all be valuable, and they have their places in other publications, but not here.

Instead of the traditional labor-intensive magazine layout and expensive multimedia production, The Magazine’s article format is similar to Instapaper’s: one clean, adjustable, reader-friendly template with HTML, occasional images, and some small conveniences. It loads quickly, integrates well with sharing and system conventions (including text selection and VoiceOver), occupies minimal storage space, and shows the utmost respect for your time and attention. §Foreword, The Magazine

Is this not self-evidently sensible from a business point of view? As a reader, what more do you want from an onscreen magazine than well set text and images and speed? From the publisher’s point of view, why spend time and money on complex layouts that readers don’t want?