Reading the E-Leaves: The future of magazines on digital devices is beginning to take shape.
The Good App
Apps should combine audiences' favorite print features with tablet devices' interactive functionality, says Shawn Duffy, managing director of cross-media services provider WoodWing USA. "The iPad should represent the publisher's brand, but it should also be designed to take advantage of the aspect ratio, multimedia and interactive tools available on the iPad," he says. "The design of the iPad publication should be the responsibility of the traditional page designer or art director who understands the brand, typography, look and feel of the printed publication. Rather than converting print PDFs to the iPad, publishers should leverage tools to create an experience for the iPad consumer."
Chris Hercik, creative director at Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated Group, says the Sports Illustrated app "reinforces the brand by extending the reach and timeliness of the print product.
"The app is essentially a trifecta," he says. "It's a combination of the traditional print product layered with SI's best digital assets topped off with iPad-exclusive content. The app experience is unlike anything else at SI. In one sitting, you can read the article, listen to a podcast of the writer and then watch an original documentary about that story. It truly is an 'experiential magazine.'"
The app allows users to link to breaking news and scores, and provides access to photos, video and archival materials from within the app environment. "It's the magazine with about 30 [percent] to 40 percent more content," Hercik says.
Successful app development required "good content management systems with processes that allow us to work on both print and digital products simultaneously," he says. The Sports Illustrated Group integrated everyone into the process rather than assigning a dedicated staff, which "allow[s] everyone to take ownership and share in the creative thinking. Everyone is encouraged to figure out digital enhancements and put their stamp on the final product," Hercik notes. "The process is intensive."