Feedback is good even when you it leaves you puzzled

We had a very busy weekend. On Friday we launched Le Monde Diplomatique (LMD) through the Exact Editions service. LMD did all the right things: they emailed a list of supporters, they had an advertisement on the home page of their English edition (they have many language and regional editions — 57!). Its the same old lesson: if you do the right thing with the web, the right things happen. We had a flood of subscriptions, lots of trial usage, plenty of feedback and some of it was telling us how great the digital edition is. EG:

Just a couple of months ago, I have renewed my subscription for the print edition of Monde Diplo for another 2 years. I like the new digital edition for several reasons (search function, environment (saves paper), looks, easy access). I would like to exchange my print edition for the digital edition starting with the next issue.

This sounds like the kind of reader for whom a digital subscription is exactly right. If you value searching, you are concerned about environmental impacts and you are keen to access your subscription from anywhere, the Exact Editions works very, very well. Or…

I love this service. Thank you.

But I’d like a few more preference options, for instance how many issues I’d like to view per page on the home page. It needs more functionality.

But still, brilliant, keep up the good work!

Useful feedback and I am sure it will be logged on our list of possible improvements. Rich is right that we could do more to offer user-preferences. And then there is the reaction that you don’t quite get:

As much as I like to read your Newspaper, I am not in a position to adjust it into a proper reading mode. Some better method must be found.

That is a little disappointing, but one wonders what Werner is getting at when he says that the he is unable to ‘adjust it into a proper reading mode’. If he is thinking of reading the magazine/newspaper on his lap or adjusting the angle of vision in the way that might for a tabloid print publication — well of course he is right. The monitor or laptop screen through which digital magazines are currently read is not something most of us currently feel completely comfortable with. When the iPhone arrives we will be reading digital magazines in the bed (even in the shower?) but till that time comes, we are stuck with our existing methods, and reading a digital magazine means sitting oneself in front of a typical monitor or laptop. Adjusting the person or the posture rather than adjusting the position or aspect of the magazine itself. And there will always be a better method; Werner is right a better method will be found. Keep on telling us what it should be.