Thursday, September 23, 2010

Swiss publishing trade magazine practices what it preaches, releases iPad app that shows how its done

I rarely open up a new tablet publishing app and have a wow moment -- a moment when you realize that someone really understands why tablets can a great publishing platform. Opening up the new iPad app from the Swiss trade magazine Publisher, though . . .
Winterthur, Switzerland-based Digipress GmbH produces Publisher, and its new app is free to download.  And despite the fact that iTunes says the language is English, it is clearly a German language magazine. (I think it was Bruno Pinto, the Luxembourg based developer who told me that this is caused by developer error when they submit their apps to Apple -- in any case, I see it all the time.)

The app weighs in at 322 MB, so you know that everything is there, no need to be online once the app is installed, and no need for an Internet connection when viewing any video that might be embedded.
One's first impression of the tablet edition is a bit negative: there is no landscape mode here, the lead-in editorial is a bit minimal in design. But that impression fades away quickly as soon as you start swiping the pages and getting into the magazine. The very first ad spot contains animation -- seen at left -- and the article employ scrolling to see additional pages. This may seem like a minor thing, but smart designers have understood from the beginning that reading patterns on tablets will mimic the web more than print, so rather than swiping to go to another page of an article the reader here just scrolls down to continue reading.

My German is nil, so I can not vouch for the quality of the articles -- but I certainly wish this magazine was in English, its articles on tablet publishing look very interesting to me, that's for sure.

Anybody at all interested in tablet publishing should head on over to the iTunes App Store and download this one, it won't cost you a penny. Publisher, it's safe to say, is leading by example.

Left: One way to navigate through the tablet edition is through the thumbnails; Middle: one of two articles that immediately appealed to me; Right: here's the other. Both articles are reached by swiping, but read by scrolling.