I’d be lying if I said keeping up with celebrity news isn’t entertaining or addicting. It all started with a harmless Instagram follow here or there and turned into a vicious cycle of desperately seeking the latest who, what, when, and where’s from websites like E! News, Cosmo, or, the star of this blog post, People.
For the past 43 years, the magazine has always been centered around, yep you guessed it, people. Richard Stolley, founding editor of the magazine characterized it as “getting back to the people who are causing the news and who are caught up in it, or deserve to be in it”.
A lot has happened in the past 40 years, and People has been there to report and entertain every step of the way. That being said, the magazine is not solely found on a newsstand or a magazine rack by the checkout line in a supermarket. Today, with modern technology, People can get their stories out through Snapchat Discover stories or any other social media platform for that matter. What came first before our age of constant sharing and communication, however, was their unmistakable website. The website itself has everything needed for a gossip-hungry, audience member like me, to get stuck in an internet hole for hours. This is solely because People knows how to perfectly consider and gear their content towards exactly what the audience wants to read or watch, the latest trends, the “who wore it bests”, or my personal favorite, this year’s winner and newly crowned, Sexiest Man Alive.
When it comes to rhetorical awareness and user-centered design, People has accurately proven time and time again that you don’t just become America’s most loved magazine without giving the people what they want. People clearly knows their purpose, to share human-interest stories and stories about people in general. They know who to share these stories with, their ever-increasing audience of entertainment junkies, trend setters, and sometimes the quiet, but unmistakable shadow readers. They know that their audience wants their information fast and they want it to be easily found. The website’s design is practically baby-proofed, any topic you could possibly think of can be found in 1 of the 24 drop down menu’s categories, such as crime, politics, home and travel, pets, sports… you name it, People probably has it.
Likewise, visual representation, is one of the magazine’s specialties. Everything from magazine subscriptions to the latest food hacks is linked to an image. This is because, like Daniel T. Richards mentioned in his own blog post, “images focus our attention on certain elements of the subject and insist that these are the important elements” and on occasion with sophisticated visual rhetoric, can “incorporate visual metaphors and dramas that evoke our deepest feelings”. While a photo of a sliced sweet potato being put into a toaster doesn’t necessarily conjure up feelings of love or fear, it does get the reader’s attention, immediately. People knows this, they know that images are the first thing the audience sees and so, they strategically place an image that will grab our attention and hook us in, because sometimes reading the title is just too much work.
These “click baits” are also used in the general graphic design and layout of the entire website. When researching a few tips and tricks into creating the perfect website, although I highly doubt I could ever make a website so interactive and visually appealing as People’s I found these top 5 tips to make any website attractive and sure enough, People checked all five. They have a fluidity and movement within their website that encourages exploring while also having a sense of structure and complete organization. Likewise, any story they want to tell has an image, or two, that tells their own stories along with the article itself. Since the magazine is not confined to a newsstand anymore People share videos and interviews so that their website can also have a prominent audiovisual presence.
While the magazine may not share the deepest of thoughts and political news, it does, without a doubt, perfectly display their content for their entertainment crazed audience, like me.