AppWatch: Reader's Digest Digital Edition
Produced by: Reader's Digest with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite
Fee: $3.99 per issue or $14.99 for one year
Details and features: Far from a static replica of its print flagship, Reader's Digest's (RD) digital editions incorporate video, slideshows, book excerpts, games and reprints from Digest's international editions, as well as original columns covering—how's this for meta?—iPad apps. We threw some questions at Robert Newman, RD's Creative Director, and Colin Fleming, Digital Publishing Evangelist for Adobe. Their (abridged) answers follow.
AppWatch: What are some best practices for creating a magazine app?
Newman: Make sure the type is readable. Many apps are plagued with type that's too small, or in narrow columns, or that knocks out of color. Develop a text size and column width that is easily accessible and readable.
Fleming: Know your primary tablet audience, and design for that group first, then consider how to address additional audiences/tablets.
Newman: Think strongly about developing your app in one orientation, either vertical or horizontal, unless there's something unique about your publication that works effectively in two orientations. At [RD], we decided to make our app read only in vertical (portrait) format.
AppWatch: What tips can you give publishers?
Newman: Get a dedicated production person who can handle the back end of producing the app. Get a good video creation and production team together. Don't create a replica (a replica-like app feels very outdated and old-fashioned).
Fleming: Read the documentation and train your people. This kind of publishing is like the second dawn of desktop publishing; new rules and workflows are being developed, and they change all the time. Experiment with the workflow and consider how it's like print and how it's completely unlike print.