An interesting video is making the circuit, featuring a close up on Jason Pontin, Editor and Publisher of MIT’s Technology Review. Given his position and the publication’s industry, I’d hazard this man has a good grasp on technology’s affect on digital publishing. He speaks for about three minutes on HTML5 being the future for digital publishing, as well as the effect of fragmentation of media due to technology and content proliferation:
"Oh the fragmentation of media consumption… it’s certainly true people don’t subscribe to publications with the same emotional intensity as they once did – they tend to graze around the internet. But I don’t think that means that brands have less value in the media space. In fact, the contrary."
Find out why brands are actually more important, starting at 1:50. Or watch from the beginning to hear about HTML5. Click here to view the video.
This video struck me as worth sharing not only because Pontin is a great voice of authority on this subject, but also because even given Pontin’s position, he still speaks of HTML5 as applying to websites. Publishers don’t have to limit their HTML5 and responsive design use to website content.
Keep delivering your content in the well-loved magazine style with Ubiquity. Click here to see this February issue of Connections made in HTML5.
"Responsive design" is not a buzzword. It’s not just about websites. And it’s not going away any time soon.
Nxtbook Media’s new breakthrough product is built using responsive design, and it’s so brand spanking new many people are asking, "What does that term mean? How does it differ from existing platforms? And what are the implications for content publishers?"
To answer these and other questions, we’ve prepared this list of the top ten things to know about responsive design and digital editions. Click here to download the white paper on responsive design and to learn what you need to know about how this technology will directly affect you.
Naturally, keeping on top of publishing trends requires a lot of reading. This week, I either got on a particular content path or this is the talking point of the day, but most of the reading seemed to be filled with exploring the effects of technology in media. I gathered a few of the interesting articles together so you can follow the path, too.
This AdExchanger article, for example, is speaking mostly to media companies, though the discussion is about technology’s disruption of the "usual" distribution channels and platforms. Technology has completely changed how we think about distribution of content altogether. Like publishers, media companies of old had to figure out "Why and What" of their products/content they wanted to push, then "Where" to push it, then "How and When". Technologies, however, "break down the walls between "Why, What, How, When and Where." Companies which start by understanding the technology of today and its future can fully use it as a tool for their content. This article points to Google as an example, pointing to the company’s shift into media through the foundation of technology, as well as Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple. It’s worth a read as, "Technology can and has profoundly changed the way content is distributed, and will continue to do so."
The UK may be known for its superior adoption of mobile technology, but in eReaders, they might’ve been at a slight disadvantage with no Barnes & Noble’s in country to sell Nook eReaders. Not anymore. In this article by TechCrunch it’s revealed that the Nook and Amazon’s Kindle Fire are soon to be released in the UK. What’s interesting is the behemoth bookstore isn’t selling its eReaders in UK bookstores. Instead, they are partnered with a popular retail chain, John Lewis, to sell the devices. Maybe it means nothing, or maybe it’s another hit to brick-and-mortar bookstores: both Amazon and B&N are selling books and eReaders outside bookstores, shaking the old-way of distribution.
And this one about AdAge’s print redesign is a little less about the direct connection between specific technology and print, but it does speak to the embrace of digital technologies having a forcible impact in the print realm. For decades AdAge had a split-article print layout, appearing more like a newspaper than the trade publications we usually see. Now, as reader behavior changes with digital reading, AdAge has to adapt: different page sizes, a magazine-esque cover, and avoiding jumping articles which start near the front of the publication and jump to the end for the conclusion. "The changes are emblematic of how print media are reconsidering their missions as fundamental business tenets are turned topsy-turvy by digital media." While AdAge is not eliminated their print edition, they are recognizing that technology’s proliferation changes everything.
This article, "10 digital thoughts for ‘old’ media" is perhaps my favorite, though I do not know when it was written. It is a well thought out list of elements "digital immigrants" need to consider when catering to a "digital native" audience. Existing somewhere in that divide myself, I found them very insightful and relatable. In particular, numbers one, three and nine.
It isn’t often you have a thank you letter from NASA sitting on your desk. But Jeff "TJ" Martin, a Project Manager here at Nxtbook Media, received one such letter. Why? Because he helped NASA make sure American Astronaut Don Pettit could get his favorite magazines, even when his "residence" was in orbit.
Pettit launched to join the crew on the International Space Station on December 21, 2011. He completed his mission as a Flight Engineer for Expedition 30 and 31, returning to Earth on July 1st, 2012. For over seven months Pettit worked and lived in space, well over two hundred miles from the nearest restaurant, coffee shop, or newsstand. While shuttling amenities like magazines to Pettit’s temporary address would be rather difficult, our platform made it so he could continue to enjoy reading new issues while in space. Jeff was integral to the process, showing NASA how to use the offline version of the digital magazine as the Internet is surprisingly slow in the Space Station.
In the letter to Jeff, Expedition 31 Crew Support Astronaut Jack Fischer wrote:
"On behalf of Don Pettit, thank you for your support during this mission. Access to their favorite media helps to keep them connected with their interests and hobbies, and helps them to stay current with what is important to them. The effort you have put forth and your assistance with the magazine were greatly appreciated!"
As a thank you, the support crew at the Johnson Space Center also sent Jeff a few Expedition posters and an official Expedition 31 pin, with graphics designed by Don Pettit.
Good work Jeff!
There might only be 8 pages to this Craft Brewers Brochure, but each page is stuffed to the gills with additional content and animation geared towards educating craft brewers on the best beer brewing process.
Every element of this brochure has been customized for reader interaction while keeping a slick design layout for computer screens. This often results in an animation on an animation on an animation, keeping readers glued to the page.
Take a look at the second page, which features an animated brewery tour. The page design is clean, removing all distraction from the animated image depicting the brewing process (animation #1). Readers can then click on any of the icons to learn more about that stage in the brewing process (#2). For even more information, readers can click again on a specific topic within that animation to be taken to another section in the brochure (#3).
The brochure features interactive animations, video, web windows, rollover animations, quote requests, and even twitter and blog feeds.All of these features are guaranteed to keep their niche audience delving deeper into their publication. It’s worth a read!
"If you look at Vodafone Global Enterprise, it’s an innovative, exciting young organisation. It has a lot of big customers that want to do really exciting things." — Transform, Issue 6, page 16
When your company is known as being innovative, exciting, and all about global mobile options, there’s a level of expectation for all of your materials to match that standard. Vodafone Global Enterprise is a classic example of a large company with high expectations, and they meet these expectations in spades with their digital magazine, Transform. The B2B magazine features articles discussing hot topics surrounding business and the growing mobile market.
More importantly, Transform reinforces Vodafone’s brand image as innovative and tech-savvy with engaging animations on every spread. Sometimes they are simple: text crawling across the screen or video tucked behind a camera icon. Sometimes they are more complex: charts which expand to a percentage or numbers that scale up or fish wriggling on the page. In every instance, there is potential to delight readers with ordinary pieces put into action, and the opportunity to keep them engaged with the material longer.
And of course, since this magazine details mobile issues, it is readable on the web browser of mobile devices.
Add a little innovation to make sure your materials are sending the right message about your brand and your services.
Last week, I covered a few of the ways publishers are using animations to add value, not just aesthetics or flash. Sometimes, however, a publisher really "gets it" and uses animation for both additional content and attractive design.
A shining example of this is AAA Traveler, a digital magazine dedicated to helping connect travelers with the best vacation for them. This magazine is all about the reader: every potential destination was accompanied by additional information the visitor would need to know. Tucked behind an "i", magnifying glass, play button, camera, envelope, or several other icons is additional content to help readers either find inspiration or make the best decision for their vacation.
The benefit to the reader is what helps set AAA publications apart as a valuable resource, a status most publishers covet.
The design incorporates the additional content while keeping the travel magazine feel vacationers are used to. All of the forms, videos, pop-ups and additional pieces of content are designed to fit within a designated space within the layout, rather than dropped anywhere on the page. For example, check out the additional tour information on page 19 or the tips on page 32.
Final bonus: flip to page 31. If you answer a question correctly, you could win a pass to all U.S. National Parks. Just submit the form (a functional animation) behind the question mark icon.
So, if I came to you and said, "Quick! Tell me the worst thing about magazines on the iPad!" there’s a pretty good chance you’d say, "Page size and download speed." Nxtbook is better than most, in this regard, but still, it’s not an invalid complaint.
And now, you and I have to deal with the fact that the new retina display on the iPad3, which essentially shoves more pixels on the screen, has the potential to increase page size by 2MB. Now, keep in mind, that figure is an estimate and, as mentioned, we do a better job of compression than the other guys, but the point remains – downloading brighter pictures means downloading larger files.
As this article points out, there are 3 logical moves here.
1) Do nothing; 2) Start building dynamic layout and text rendering engines; or 3) Begin basing their platforms on Web technologies.
We’ve never been good at doing nothing at Nxtbook, so that’s out. And you can also expect that our developers will continue to find ways to compress files, too. But as far as #2 and #3 go, let’s just say this: Stay tuned.
So you might be sitting around the office arguing about what matters for your digital edition: native apps or browser editions? eReaders or tablets? It’s all so confusing these days, and what matters to you depends a lot on your content and audience. Even then, navigating the waters can be tricky. So we’re happy to bring you a handy infographic detailing your options and what’s most important today. As always, subject to change in the future! For more, click here to read our complete eReader Guide for 2012.
It doesn’t always take a crystal ball to peer into the minds of your readers. Sometimes all it takes is asking them exactly what you want to know. Your metrics can tell you the hard facts: what kinds of devices your readers are using, which pages draw your readers’ attention, and so on. But for some questions, you just have to ask.
Recently, the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) did just that by surveying over a thousand tablet or e-Reader users regarding their mobile reading habits. The results followed the trends we’ve been seeing, but one question I was glad they asked was how readers found the magazine apps they now enjoy. While there are differing strategies about how to get your app in front of eyeballs, it’s always good to take a moment to check with readers:
Of course, if crystal-ball-gazing is something you enjoy, I’d recommend "16 predictions for mobile in 2012." An interesting read, even given its strong focus on Microsoft.