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Introducing the new-look Which? Magazine

Members should now be receiving the new-look Which? Magazine. The redesign was informed by your feedback, so I’d love to know what you think.

Over the course of its 62-year history, our magazine has experimented with different looks.

Our pop-art-inspired 1960s issues are iconic; our 1980s tabloidesque phase best forgotten.

For this redesign, our first since 2014, we’ve freshened things up with new typefaces (Tiempos is our serif, National our sans serif) and a more elegant colour palette.

Difficult questions

A good redesign isn’t just cosmetic. We didn’t shy away from difficult questions. What’s the purpose of a print magazine in 2019?

For me, this was about recognising that the magazine plays a different role in members’ lives now compared to most of its history.

20 years ago, and even 10 or five years ago for some, the magazine was the main way that people accessed our product reviews. Now, our website and app are best for that.

The magazine has increasingly focused more on features, investigations, interesting insights and useful advice, but I didn’t feel like the old design was showing these things off well enough.

Meeting with members

When we met with our members across the country, we were reassured.

They told us they want the magazine to keep them informed, with advice you can trust on a range of consumer issues.

Most agreed our website and app are best for seeking out information when researching something specific, so a magazine should serve a different purpose: it should be more relaxing, inspiring, and sometimes challenging.

It should surprise you, offering insights that you wouldn’t look for online – things you didn’t know you needed to know.

The new-look Which? magazine will be arriving with our members now. It’s informed by their feedback and will continue to be.

Let me know what you think of the new look in the comments below.

Comments

I’m delighted to see the new-look magazine now arriving to our members and would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved – especially our members who helped inform the new design.

We ran a series of focus groups across the country with participants ranging from long-standing members to prospects who had only vaguely heard of Which?. We asked them to take away an issue of the magazine and pick it apart – they didn’t hold back!

From the new cover to the newly-added crossword (which I’ll definitely be testing my knowledge on!), I think the new, contemporary look does a fantastic job of showing off all our fascinating insight, investigations and product tests – all of which are at the very heart of the organisation I’m continually proud to be leading.

As Harry has said, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Members have helped us create this new-look, and they’ll continue to help us shape what we do and who we are in the future

I would love to say we should have an office competition to see who can solve the cross word the quickest but I know I would badly embarrass myself! 😀

I have always admired Which? Magazine for not wasting space on crosswords, recipes and knitting patterns like so many others. Now it is introducing crosswords. How old-fashioned is that?

I love the new look! So fresh and really focuses on the investigations (…which are my favourite bits). I’m also enjoying the new crossword, which I am typically rubbish at. Oh well, keeps me quiet on my commute home 😉

Richard Jones says:
20 September 2019

Though I can log in through the website without issue, which is how I am able to read and write this, I am unable to use the links in today’s mail. I am confronted with a very bald login screen which fails to accept my usual credentials.
Can I obtain some assistance to find out what all the razzmatazz is about please?
I have not yet received the mailed copy of the magazine.

It sounds like you might be attempting to log in to the Which? Conversation site rather than the main Which? website, Richard. If you follow the link from the email, the login page you reach (https://www.which.co.uk/login) is for the main Which.co.uk website, not the site where you’ve posted this comment.

Your login credentials are likely to be your membership number and the password you’ve set. If you need a hand, you can try resetting your password here: https://www.which.co.uk/forgot-password, or giving our Member Services centre a call on 029 2267 0000.

Nice one, Harry. The investigative approach to Fraud is very tight and well written. In general, although I haven’t yet got through it, it seems a far meatier offering than the previous mag.

I am hoping the content is as good as, or better than, before but I reserve final judgment on the design until I have my copy in my hands. My instant reaction when I looked through the copy e-mailed to me was that the lettering and layout looked so old-fashioned – yet younger people think it is fresh and exciting. It looks different, on that I would agree. Which? has changed shape, format and design so often over time that I have become indifferent to each iteration knowing that it will change again in due course.

Having now received my copy and gone through it I am quite impressed by the appearance – the e-mailed version didn’t do it justice. I am not sure about the front cover and the new name logo but that’s a minor quibble. One thing I would say to Which? though is – go easy on the ugly upper case lettering. There seems to be rather too much of it and Which? itself tells us not to use it in ‘Conversation’. I was surprised to see that the October magazine was only 68 pages to September’s 76.

PS – The baggy starch wrapper was badly torn in the post so perhaps it got caught in the sorting machinery.

I’ll write something when mine arrives.

I am on holiday at present but have had a look at the October magazine online. It looks good to me but I could not find any mention of Which? Conversation. 🙁 Maybe I’m wrong.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Unrelated to this redesign, but tangentially relevant I think – Whilst the indexing in the hard copy is still adequate, though the exellent full 5 year or more index included once a year, a couple of decades ago, would still be a welcome return.
However, the on line Search facility is lamentable. Specific search arguments rarely yield an appropriate result.
Googel’s first rate facility has now been largely adopted/copied across the net. Which needs to do something similar.
Smike

I simply enjoyed reading the magazine, more so than before, somehow it was just easier reading.

I have received the ‘new look’ magazine and I’m afraid the articles have been dumbed down even more that ever before.
They are basically just a recommendation of the reviewers opinion on which couple of items you should buy.
They tables of scores seem to have vanished.
Sometimes we have to buy a more economic product and make a compromise, for instance I cannot afford or justify an £800 pound washing machine, when all my circa £400 machine have lasted years and are adequate.

The magazine seems ot have gone towards an afternoon read of chatty content, rather than expressing any in-depth test results of the underlying Technology.

A lot of the generic ‘advice’ articles have already appeared in the regular press some time beforehand, I know that is trying to be helpful, but that’s not defined by the magazine title ‘Which!’ is it?

I also find it really annoying when the lead article appears on the TV or Apple news days before I get the magazine.

I pay for this, so let the ruddy press wait until after I get the exclusive first read.

I’ve finished the mag, now, and one issue I have is with the WiFi article, specifically the TP-Link. It was rated best buy and had a set of quick installation instructions that were wrong. They were:

1. The wrong url is given for the web browser connection
2. The fact that the app is only available on the App store for iOS and not Mac OS isn’t mentioned.
3. The instructions were confusing: the unit has to be unplugged and moved to a new location. The instructions didn’t see fit to mention that it had to be unplugged. To the newcomer, that’s a fairly stupid thing to do.

It does work rather well but why didn’t the reviewers identify the issues?

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This is one of the problems with buying things on-line. If you saw such material in a shop you wouldn’t buy it, or if you did you could take it back when you discovered the unintelligible instructions. Returning products to China is well nigh impossible despite your consumer rights for on-line purchasing to reject goods not fit for purpose. I have noticed that the single acronym “PROC” is now being used to disguise the origin of Chinese products – even the words “Made in” are omitted so, to the uninitiated, it looks like an irrelevant bit of product coding.

Indeed, Duncan, Tp-Link is based in Shenzhen, China, but it’s not that the instructions are poorly worded, it’s simply that some parts are just wrong, such as the URL and missing essential information. I’d have expected the W? subcontracted reviewers to have identified these points.

Neville Lloyd says:
23 September 2019

Why change a good format and I have not seen it yet

Arnold says:
23 September 2019

Please put back the Test Lab Buyers’ Guide. It really is very useful, as a summary of what’s available. I appreciate I can look on-line but having a full summary of what’s available, makes comparison easy and convenient.

Thanks for your comment, Arnold. When we spoke with members we found that not enough people regularly used this large table section at the back of the magazine when making buying decisions to justify its space in the magazine.

Even in the past five years, there has been a noticeable shift towards the vast majority of members doing this kind of research using our Reviews app or website. We agree this is the best place to do that, so have focused the Test Lab section of the magazine on articles that aim to better prepare you for making future purchases as an informed consumer.

We will, however, continually review our approach across the magazine to ensure we get the balance of content right, including using tables where they really add value. I hope this helps explain the decision further.

Richard, where is the Test Lab on the website please?

There are frequent comments that many people do not do “online” for a variety of reasons, particularly older people. Whether or not this is a substantial number I don’t know but they will form a large part of the Which? subscriber demographic. We should respect their needs and not leave them disadvantaged. I am all for putting a lot of the detail on line that is simply too much for a print mag. but I’d like to see the partly fleshed bones still in print; personally I much prefer to sit on the sofa with a cup of tea and browse through the magazine, and look at back numbers, rather than navigate a website. I may be dinosaurical but until the species is extinct I hope their preferences will be considered.

I haven’t yet received my mags so await them with interest. However, you may be a little concerned at the negative reaction so far?

I have not been a great user of the Test Lab summary myself as I tend to go straight to the website for product reviews, but I support its retention as a convenient facility for subscribers. I could identify a number of wasted spaces in the magazine which would compensate for the inclusion of the Test Lab pages. As I noted previously, the October edition was also four pages short of the September edition so the space argument doesn’t really wash.

Hi, Malcolm. While ‘Test Lab’ doesn’t exist as a section on the website, per se, the site is packed full of in-depth product reviews as you know. The same level of detail is too much to try to carry in the magazine, and the vast majority of members now use the website for making actual buying decisions and comparisons.

As I mentioned in another response, we have focused the Test Lab section of the magazine on articles that aim to better prepare you for making future purchases as an informed consumer.

We’re trying to strike the right balance, and will still include product tables where these add value for members – although these will only ever represent part of what you can view online.

It’s worth mentioning that, for members who don’t use the website, our member services team is always very happy to help members find the right product for them over the phone – and of course have access to all our reviews and test data.

I really miss the easy to read tables with the scores but would not mind so much if it were possible to access them online. The Which? search engine is poor as others have stated so if the tables are to be online instead of in print then provide a simple link on the website. All I seem able to access online is the best and worst with no tables at all. What I really want is the table to see how the item has performed across the board (as the tables show) so I can make an informed decision. Sometimes I decide on an item by scrificing something less important to me.

Sadly I did not enjoy reading the new magazine. I am not choosing the magazine for its prose but its easy to read, assimilate and find information which I fell I did not get in this edition. Like with all things adapting to change can take time so I am prepared to stick with it for now. That last sentence hurts me to write as I believe in all that the Which organisation does but I fear in future I will be only subscribing for the organisation not the magazine

Hi Fiona. I’m sorry to hear you found less of value to you in the latest issue. As you say, it usually takes a few issues to get used to a familiar magazine or newspaper when it changes, but I do hope you’ll stick with it. We certainly want it to be easy to read and digest, so we’ll be monitoring reader feedback closely on this point.

I suppose my copy will turn up in rural Durham one of these days…..

Sorry, I think the new “retro look” is awful. I used to look forward to proper.reviews with lots of comparisons. I dont want to be refered to the website. Eg mesh wifi – did you only test two?

John Hindley says:
23 September 2019

I wish the magazine app was more user friendly. It seems to have taken a step backwards from the previous version. I use issuu for online magazines and find it far easier to use than your new format. Is a PDF version not possible please?

Robert Ironside says:
23 September 2019

Dreadful new look. Bring back the Test lab comparisons and give us some proper reviews.

Must be in a minority by preferring the old Which?
At least could the Test Lab Buyer’s Guide be restored – I found it very useful to get the summaries and then go to the review if I wished ? And , yes , I generally prefer print to an app for things !