Cover Story: Building A Sustainable Future
Using the Medium
With the MacLife release and subsequent apps, Future has shown itself adept at creating products that are true brand extensions. The Guitar World Lick of the Day app has been singled out by industry observers for using qualities unique to tablets to provide musicians with a handy way to hone their craft.
Says Marcom, "We've been working to encourage our teams to think about how they can take our assets and make them an interesting experience that you can't do anywhere else. I think the Lick of the Day [app] is definitely the best example to date of something that you couldn't do on a computer, you couldn't do in a magazine, and you couldn't do on a video device aside from the tablet. It just works in that environment really well."
Other notable releases since MacLife include apps for the company's U.K. tech magazine, T3, and a brand-new title, Tap!, launched simultaneously on iPad, iPhone, print and the Web.
"Now we are learning from each other," Byrne says of the U.S. and U.K. development teams, "finding out what works and what doesn't, and discovering what the global market is for this because user behaviors are different [in various countries]."
While expanding into apps, the company has not neglected its websites, striving both to have existing websites render well on tablets and to build greater cross-functionality between the Web and mobile devices, especially in the games and technology divisions.
According to Byrne, a key component of the company's successful push into apps has been a rethinking of internal workflows. After evaluating the development process behind the first and second generation of the MacLife app, Byrne decided a new position needed to be created to coordinate editorial and development teams. "What became clear to me is we need a head, a person I call a digital producer … [who] will serve as a go-between between the edit group and web-dev," she says.