When developing a mobile version for a tablet or iPad, you need to take several things into account:
We need to decide whether we want to transfer the magazine onto a tablet in the simplest possible way – as a simple PDF [with a simple app for viewing it] or if we prefer a richer version which is, de facto, an advanced application, with the complexity level similar to that of a modern website. In order to decide, it will be helpful asking those basic questions:
- First: Are mobile publications a strategic initiative for your company, or is it enough that you are present in that segment of the market?
- Second: Will the mobile version of the magazine be sold or distributed via unpaid channels?
- Third: What are the expectations of your advertisers?
- Fourth: What budget do you have for the project?
A richer version of a magazine for mobile devices means a wide use of interactive elements, multimedia materials (video, audio) and presenting animated content/images with the use of special effects and the multitouch technology. These elements bring much more reader involvement and enable the readers to better experience the product. In addition, you get more prestige – the company is perceived as modern.
When planning such a rich version of a publication, you need to decide how much content and how many interactive elements are really needed and what is the actual cost of creating them. We also need to think about the difficulty level of the project and how time consuming it would be, or the possible effect of delays in publishing the next issue. A quality leap has demands regarding the production process.
What readers value most is the comfort of viewing tablet publications, so we need to remember about an intuitive and clear arrangement of content and a navigation system within the publication. For this we can use the page preview option (to move quickly from page to page without going back to table of contents), possibility of reading vertically and horizontally (may require preparing two separate versions of the issue), or anything specific to the practical use of devices with a touchscreen.
It is worth thinking about the practical use of available interactive elements, such as: interactive cards, surveys, competitions, simple games, moving elements, animated diagrams, clouds, pop-up messages, active links, possibility to send message from the app level, possibility to watch video within content or in fullscreen mode which is closed automatically.
Tablet magazines readers often use subscription. Remember that the magazine update option should run without engaging the reader in that process.
There are functions enabling you to search through and measure the behavior of a reader viewing the magazine, such as how much time they spent on each page, what they clicked. You need to decide which parameters are crucial for you and should be measured.
Adjusting for smartphone screen
There are many different types of mobile devices, all having different screen sizes and operating systems. Preparing a mobile issue you need to know the target group and adjust the issue to the most popular configurations. In many cases this may mean you need to devote much time to developing a dedicated version for some platforms.
The diversity of tablets and smartphones, including their size, resolution and proportion of screen brings new challenges in designing user-friendly websites and mobile applications. A publication designed for a tablet may not feel comfortable on a smaller smartphone – the text and navigation elements will be too small to avoid screen zooming, which is a discomfort in reading content. It is also worth remembering that tablets/smartphones can be used in both screen orientations (horizontal/vertical), which changes dynamically and immeasurably the way content is presented.
The answer to the problems described above is a concept known as responsive design. It includes preparing the layout and content of a website/application in such a way that they automatically adjust to the current size and proportion of the screen. This means, for example, dynamic scaling, adjustment, moving interface elements and changing the content arrangement (location, division, size) accordingly, so that it is always easily available and readable. This is the way to gain a positive response to your service on a possibly broad range of mobile devices.