Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WoodWing Software launches its first app under its own developer account for Belgian city/regional magazine

You want to prove that you can provide software solutions for publishers? What better way than to launch apps under your own name. The risk, of course, is that the publication will be less than impressive; the reward is you can showcase your company's capabilities.
WoodWing Software is already a leading provider of publishing solutions for the iPad having its Digital Magazine tools used in the creation of the Sports Illustrated iPad app. Now a new magazine app has hit the iTunes app store, and this one lists WoodWing itself as the developer -- the first iPad app in iTunes that directly credits WoodWing. (WoodWing has its own app in iTunes, as well as a couple of iPhone apps.)

The app is for KH Magazine, a city/regional quarterly for the Knokke-Heist area of Belgium on the North Sea. The print magazine has a circulation of 60,000 and is printed in Dutch and French, though this iPad app is in Dutch.

The immediate question I had was would this app baring WoodWing's name be impressive, or would it merely be a flipbook styled app like so many other third party magazine apps? WoodWing, after all, promotes its publishing solutions as providing easy conversions from InDesign. So many third party apps just provide iPad owners with electronic versions not much different than PDFs.
My first concern was navigation. The bottom navigation tools seemed to make things fly by very quickly, and at first I thought the app buggy. But this was not the case. Once I got used to it all was fine.

My next concern was that this would be a simple conversion of the printed magazine. No, this app is the real deal. Layouts are in both portrait and landscape. Some layouts utilize the display differently, like one article -- not seen here -- that uses animated buttons along the bottom of the page to bring in copy, but in portrait mode shows all the copy in a slightly different manner.


Above you will see some examples of how the editors and developers dealt with layouts -- all these are portrait examples.

In the article on classic cars you will find an arrow in the bottom right of the page indicating that there is copy below -- in this case pictures and text on various classic cars. In the article show in the middle screenshot, the arrow is at the bottom in the middle. To the left, though, is another icon, which when touched brings in some text -- which you can see in the right hand screenshot.
What is kind of fun to see in KH Magazine is that the success of the iPad app is not dependent on video or audio. The interactivity of the layouts is enough to make it entertaining -- and functional.

As you can see at right, the advertising works in both portrait and landscape mode -- some better than others, but it does work. Of course, ad reps will cringe at the idea of having to get their agencies and direct advertisers to provide two sets of ad materials so that their ads can be viewed in both portrait and landscape mode!
If WoodWing wanted a showcase app to show publishers what their software solutions could accomplish, this app for KH Magazine does the trick -- even better than the app from Sports Illustrated, in my view.

I would be curious to know how closely WoodWing worked with the staff of KH Magazine to produce this app -- my guess, very closely. But this app is very well done and puts most other magazine apps to shame. The magazine is free to download, by the way. I think anyone who wants to see what can be done without having to resort to web-based video and other kinds of rich media would be smart to look closely at this iPad app.


Gerard van den Akker (WoodWing Software) said...

There is actually a very nice story behind the creation process of this App. Head Office, a Belgium communication agency created this app on behalf of the municipality of Knokke-Heist. They did so during one of WoodWing’s 2-day workshops to get acquainted with the Digital Magazine tools for the iPad. They did some thorough preparation before attending, so they knew what the app was supposed to look like and how the navigation should work. Then, during the 2-day workshop, they went through the learning curve of using the Digital Magazine tools in InDesign and created the entire publication from start till end! They knew what functionality the reader app was offering at that moment in time, and used that to its max. Kudos to Head Office!

Douglas Hebbard said...

Thank for that addition to the story. Thinking about the iPad app from the beginning of the magazine production process is definitely the way to go -- they did a great job.