Tech Blog: Marie Claire’s Fall Fashion App Falls Flat

December 6, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Elizabeth Lowe

iPad Review: Marie Claire‘s “Fall Fashion A-Z”

  • Immediacy/Urgency:
  • Non-linear news presentation:
  • Multimedia:
  • Interactivity:
    Already an iPad cynic to begin with, I decided to try an app produced by one of my magazine mainstays.

    The Powerhouse Publication: Marie Claire (a Hearst publication)
    The App: “Fall Fashion A-Z”
    The Result: Unimpressive to say the least.

    Could an iPad app really change the way I experience one of my favorite publications? Would I really get more enjoyment from the digital version than my tangible coffee table staple?

    Marie Claire’s fashion app definitely provides a new experience for their fashionista readers. But it isn’t anything to jump up and down in your Louboutins about.

    With “Fall Fashion A-Z” readers can get a more graphically enhanced look at the latest fall trends. This type of editorial feature is usually in the front-of-book for Marie Claire in a clean, easy-flowing layout. The trends unfold page by page with one runway look and an array of similar pieces available for purchase.

    The app, however, comes off a little jumbled. I could see that Marie Claire was going for a fun, creative collage approach to display the content – but all that scrolling back, forth, up and down! It drives a classic page-turner like myself crazy.

    Let’s discuss the actual content and digital experience. All pieces in the editorial collage are “clickable,” linking the user to a letter in the alphabet and a set of clothing, shoes or accessories. Just like the usual front-of-book fashion layouts, these sets are accompanied by a runway look. Except on the iPad, it’s a video.

    The downside? The runway video is a continuous loop of one look in a collection. I would be impressed if I could watch the entire Marc Jacobs or Celine runway show to experience fall’s minimalist movement, for example. However, I get the same fulfillment looking at a photo of the runway look as I do watching it play repeatedly on my screen.

    This is just one example of room for improvement as Marie Claire makes the transition from print to iPad. Many aspects of the app gave me the exact same content as the magazine – editor’s favorites, pricing and store info, runway-to-street – just in a “clickable,” digital layout. There was no “new” content. It was barely multimedia-forward, with only the runway show video loops.

    To ditch my tangible and page-turner-friendly print version, Marie Claire will have to step up their game in the iPad app. The legacy publication is packed with fresh, in-the-know content on not only fashion, but also other aspects of culture and society. Its pages are full every month with the best shoes, society commentary, and inspiring features. With so much content, its organized page design still make the magazine highly engaging and easy to read.

    However, the iPad app fell short of what I usually enjoy about Marie Claire. This digital version (though only a piece of the Marie Claire sphere of content) is actually less content-packed and harder to read.

    Though I look forward to more digital publications by the Hearst legacy, I’ll stick to my paper version of Marie Claire for now.