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We’ve Got Some Bright Ideas about Digital Publishing

Is your association considering a digital publication? Are you wondering whether to simply repackage your print piece or create something completely different? Is it time to go digital-only?

There are a lot of questions to consider before you can press the button to launch your first digital magazine. Network Media Partners has many of those answers in the first issue of our new magazine, Bright Ideas, available now for iPad.

brightideas

DOWNLOAD NOW FOR iPAD

The issue focuses on how to create a top-notch digital publication. You’ll find some great insights about how readers are accessing content, learn when it’s right to use push notifications, understand the strategy needed behind any great publication, and get an interactive view of how to combine print and digital production schedules.

Not on your iPad? When you get there, search “Network Media Partners” in your iPad App Store, then select “Bright Ideas.”

After you’ve had a chance to check it out, please drop us a note and tell us what you think. And when you’re ready to take you association publication into the tablet world, we’d be happy to show you how to get there.

Leave a Comment June 8, 2012

Beyond the PDF Q&A

Designing for the digital platform is certainly a hot topic! Following last week’s Folio webinar, we received a number of questions about creating digital publications and designing content. Creative Director Jen Smith answers them here.

Q: Are there best practices in terms of interaction, as far as clicking off to external links, versus using tooltips inside the digital edition?

A: For Matrix, we do include a lot of links to external places, either PDFs or URLs. We try to send readers only to the AHDI web site or a PDF that’s housed on the AHDI server. We don’t want to send readers all over the place. That said, I think there’s definitely something to be said for keeping the reader inside the publication. So anything kind of interactivity you can build within the pages, in my opinion, is the best way to go. If you have a video on your web site, for example, it’s easy enough to grab that file and embed it in the page of the digital book.

Q: Does the online version of a magazine need to have the same content as the print version? Or — how much can be different?

A: We make a magazine that is published in both print and in digital format. The content is very similar. The digital edition includes extra audio or video and sometimes includes additional, completely new content that’s not in print. We almost always include a feature that is available in the digital edition only. Often the additional content that’s in the digital edition is just more of what was in print. More news items, for example. We also will run larger infographics, ones that take too much space in print, in the digital edition.

I really think that if you want a digital edition that people are interested in, it needs to offer more than what’s offered in print. That does take extra work, but not a ton of extra work. Many people have wondered if they need a whole new person to handle the multimedia and extra functionality of a digital edition. I don’t necessarily think you need additional “human bandwidth,” especially if you have people working with material that runs on your site, for example. Just takes some extra planning.

Q: With the new PDF security concerns, how likely is it that future readers would be willing to “click through” on PDF content?

All of the links (to URLs or to PDFs) in our digital edition are directed to our web site. We won’t ever send a reader on a wild ride around the internet or link to a PDF that we haven’t created ourselves. Not just for reasons of safety. We want our readers to stick with us because we value their commitment to us and we want to keep them engaged with us.

Want to see the webinar? Find the archive here.

Leave a Comment May 4, 2011

Beyond the PDF

Last week, Creative Director Jen Smith offered insights on creating and presenting content in a digital publication during a Folio webinar, along with Marcus Grimm of NxtBook Media. Here are some of the important take-aways from that session:

“You’re still making a magazine. Except that you’re not.”

Don’t forget what you’re here to do—and that is to make a magazine.  All of the good ideas you have as a magazine editor or designer are still good ideas. Just find new ways to execute them to make them right for the medium.

“Rethink how to communicate with your audience.”

Editors need to think like visual communicators. That’s not a new concept, but it is more important in this medium in a number of ways. Ask yourself what your content would be if you could only present it using infographics. What would your magazine look like?

“You can do it on the cheap.”

Creating a digital publication with plenty of functionality is not expensive. First, have an idea. Then, figure out the best, most effective and most cost-effective way to execute.

“Allow for as much functionality as you can.

For us, allowing readers to zoom in to text gives them better control over their reading experience. The pages are designed so that there isn’t a need to zoom.  But then again, the type size you choose may not be larger enough for everyone. Don’t take away that option.

“If it looks like you can click on it, it better click.”

We’ve trained ourselves over time to identify symbols and shapes that are asking us to interact with them. Don’t include this kind of design element if it’s not functional as well.

“There’s a difference between interactive and dynamic.”

Readers prefer content that is interactive. Moving objects tend to distract, especially if they serve no genuine purpose. By making content interactive, you force the reader to engage…and better yet, you make them want to engage.

“Constantly evolve.”

As long as you stay grounded in your mission and our content, you can continually experiment and try new things.

Want to see the webinar? Find the archive here.

Leave a Comment May 2, 2011

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