You ain’t artsier than me…

I don’t understand this mag. It didn’t try to sell me anything. – iTunes app review for Letter to Jane.

“I found it funny,” said Tim Moore, creator of the iPad’s first independent magazine.

Moore started the magazine with the intention of using it as a portfolio. After beginning the second edition he decided to being experimenting with the iPad platform. The magazine now utilizes its new platform to deliver an experience that is only available on a touch screen interface.

Ideas will become bigger if we let them.

“I went to school for photography. I like to do photography but sometimes it bores me because there’s not a lot new there. Working with touch interfaces is new,” he said. “People make a big deal about the fact that I learned how to do this stuff on my own, but I learned it all on my own because I found it fun and I wanted to try new things.”

Trying new things meant a lot of exploring at first and allowing the project to evolve as it was being created.

“Most people have a very direct view of what their publication is suppose to do and they have a staff that will go out and get certain things done every month. I start from scratch. After every issue I ask, Should I even make another one? What’s it going to look like? It’s more like making a new album or making a new movie. I don’t look at it like a continuation. It’s all about creating a new experience, while also not alienating people. I think with these apps the big challenge is that you want to create something new but you don’t want to have to show them how to use it.” He continued, “Video games should have instructions, but looking at photos shouldn’t.”

Moore learned the importance of making an application that is easily navigated from early reviews about his first release.

“I assumed people would know to swipe to move through the content. But I got a couple emails and bad reviews on the app store that said ‘this magazine is BS. Is only 16 static images. There’s no actual content. He’s lying to you.’ Because they didn’t know they were suppose to swipe (through the pages). You can’t please everybody but you also can’t assume how much people know.” He continued, “If they understand how to use it and they hate it I’m still pretty happy. It’s the people who say, ‘I couldn’t figure out how to open it so I hate it.’ That’s when I get upset.”

Late Autumn for iPad from Tim Moore on Vimeo.

Letter to Jane, named after a Jean-Luc Godard movie, has been featured with mostly warm reviews in publications such as MagCulture, AppAdvice and The Independent. MagCuluture said the magazine “is worth a look for the cool, calm confidence with which it presents its content.”

“A lot of these iPad magazine’s run horribly.” He said, “They have a bunch of needless animations, and music and videos playing without giving people the ability to control it. It’s like when Flash websites first started coming out and people were making sites that could crash your computer. So I’ve been trying to find the fine line between what is just a bell and whistle and what is actually useful.”

The new issue of Letter to Jane features interviews with Carrie Brownstein, Toro y Moi, Tennis, and Ben Briand. It will also include photography from Moore and a music video he directed for Shadows on Stars. The project is near completion and Moore said to look for it being released before summer.

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