Making Responsive Design Their Own

November 11, 2014

National Jeweler
In the eternal struggle between, “Should I have a website, or should I have a digital edition?” the experts like to debate points on trackability, mobile friendliness, content delivery, user experience and content consumer expectation. Emerald Expo, owner of the National Jeweler website and brand had another idea: what if they wanted it all?
This Fall, Emerald Expo unleashed their new digital magazine, National Jeweler, bringing jewelery store owners new ideas, analysis, news, and trend reporting to help business owners make the decisions necessary to cultivate their market opportunities. National Jeweler had existed in print form in the past, but the print magazine was discontinued in favor of a website. Now, Emerald Expo made the decision to allow the website to keep driving daily industry news, product portfolios and other resources, while the digital-only magazine compiled and delivered stories directly to readers. The magazine also includes additional advertising, links to jewelers’ websites, and the ability to connect with editorial staff.

national jeweler banner

Losing the Print Legacy

Because National Jeweler is digital only, the editorial and design teams weren’t confined to replicating print PDFs on digital screens. Their audience is busy jewelry store owners who could be reading content on laptops, desktops, tablets or mobile phones. In light of this the magazine was created in a format that would present the content in the best possible way regardless of screen size: responsive design. This would preserve the magazine feel that readers intuitively understand and respond to, but would also ensure that the content would be legible and enjoyable to read. The content reflows, allowing the font to adjust to larger or smaller sizes depending on the reader’s device. It eliminates the need for readers to zoom or pan in order to see the content better; the reading experience feels native to the device, creating a comfortable reading environment for a busy reader.

Advertisers Embrace the Design

Advertisers in the National Jeweler magazine capitalize on the responsive design platform by creating ads that mimicked the articles’ ability to adjust to varying screen sizes. Some of the advertisers provided several layouts for the same ad, one for each of the leading device screen sizes. The digital magazine platform can detect which device a reader is using, then serve the ad that fits that screen size. This means when a reader is presented with an ad, they’re given something that looks like it’s made for their device. The copy is easy to view, and readers aren’t required to work to view the call to action. (Asking a reader to take action to view an ad is counter-intuitive to any ad’s goals.) Click here to view one of the semi-dynamic ads, and try viewing it on different devices to see the change in layout.
Another advertiser is using Click Skip, a technology only available with this responsive design platform known as Ubiquity. Click Skip – also known as Web in Page – delivers readers directly to the advertiser’s website without requiring them to click on a link. The section in the magazine looks just like a page that belongs there, but it is actually a landing page on the advertiser’s website. The site is fully functional, and readers can interact with it by scrolling to or clicking anything that interests them. Or, the readers can simply continue reading the magazine by clicking through the next article, as usual. Click here to view the Click Skip page.

Get the Objective and Subjective Data

One of the primary advantages of having a digital edition is the metrics that come with it. With print magazines, publishers relied on readers to fill out response cards, self-reporting how readers think they interacted with the magazine. With digital, publishers know exactly how long an article grabbed a reader’s attention, which call to action was worth the click, which device was used to read the magazine and how many times a reader returned to read more.
National Jeweler takes this a step further by also including a survey at the end of the publication. With a big, bold button the magazine asks readers to take their survey, which asks readers to rate the magazine, note was article was valuable, and comment on what topics they’d like to see covered in future editions. In this way, National Jeweler editorial team gets the hard data as well as the subjective data of the audience, giving them the greatest insight into how readers want to interact with the magazine in the future.
In the evolution of the National Jeweler brand, they tried it all. They had a print magazine. They built an impressive web audience. And now they’re using today’s responsive design technology to deliver a digital only magazine experience. By embracing the power of online, they’re able to capitalize on delivering fast, valuable content to readers both via their website and by a digital edition. As the brand continues to accomplish their goal of distributing critical industry information, they’re finding the best avenues that fit their audience needs, expectations, and lifestyles.


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