Time Magazine has an online archive of its published magazines from March 1923 to present day. Time Magazine was America’s first weekly magazine, established by Henry Luce and Birton Hadden and its first publication was in March 2023. Therefore, the online archive is as substantial as it gets, having content from every year of its publication.
Looking at the possible results, nearly 300,000 are from Time U.S the printed magazine and 222,969 from online articles. This is undeniably impressive. However, the print issue articles come at a price: £70 a year to be a little more precise. Although, your first 6 months are free, you are limited to 80 issues. It isn’t all bad, for this price you become a subscriber so receive the new issues of Time as well as the ‘Time All Access’ which entitles users to see all old content. Therefore, this is a commercial archive.
Time has used something called ‘Laser Focus’ in its interface design, although not too successfully.
“Laser focused user interface puts visual focus on a single, obvious task to do once a user opens the web application, instead of providing several equally important options. The key benefit of this approach is simplicity – users instantly know what the application is about and what the suggested action is.”
There is a clear search bar, but there are also other distractions on the page: large cover pictures below which makes the page very bottom heavy. Users could be easily mislead into clicking elsewhere on the website. However, a plus is that there are tabs to search covers or articles. Under the search bar there are options to refine the search to a date range: therefore, over half a million possible articles can be narrowed down. This kind of search command is understandable and popular on a lot of common interfaces. For example, shopping on Amazon which gives the option of which department to look into (books, electronics etc). Despite the distractions, it is easy for a user to find what they are looking for. Nevertheless, finding this page isn’t actually all the clear. http://www.time.com leads to http://www.time.com/time
However, you need to click on the sub category ‘Magazine’ and then ‘archive’ to get to the page. It’s a shame that this page is hidden under two layers of web fronts.
If we are researching a topic, users want to find a broad range of information and articles. Time archive have used its metadata in order for readers to view other related articles. This isn’t uncommon for news websites such as BBC and CNN. Regardless, it is useful for archive searching.
So needless to say that the design interface is usable, with refine tools in the side bar; however, because of the nature of the commercial website, there are advertisements and a limit of how much content can be seen for free. If finding the search page was easier it would be more valuable.