Perspectives on the Feasibility of Designing Interactive Magazines in Zimbabwe
Interaction design, a form of new media, is a digital technology-mediated discipline that allows communication and reciprocal creative participation over the content. The research interrogated perspectives on the feasibility of adopting interactive magazines in Zimbabwe. The study, which was qualitative in nature, used a three-pronged research methodology. The first instrument used to collect data was in-depth interviews with five purposively sampled media and technology experts. The second instrument used was three focus groups discussions with convenience-sampled design practitioners. The third instrument collected data through participant observation of an audience of a print/interactive magazine called The Cut. The data collected was combined with findings from literature, thematically analysed and became the basis upon which a Framework for Interactive Magazines was derived and developed. The model concludes that the criteria upon which to create an interactive magazine should be user engagement (control, collaboration and connection), multiple paradigms (multimedia, multisensory and hyperlinking), e-commerce functionality (digital market research and quick access online shopping) and the evocation of an experience (dynamic appeal). A theme that is central to the adoption of interactive technology is the context within which such a product is launched. The contextual factors include the target market of the interactive magazine as well as the technological climate prevailing. It was discovered that the most prime target market is both youthful and techno-savvy and that wide and affordable Internet activity is a condition that is most conducive for interactive magazine publishing.