Monday, December 6, 2010

Revista Visão brings its new look to the tablet; designers bring native app design, strong layouts, logical navigation

This morning TNM looks at three different visions of tablet publishing: from a native app from the Portugese news magazine Visão, to the converted mobile apps of Freedom Communications, and finally to the new mobile magazines from Nomad Editions.

Over the Thanksgiving Day holiday our home was filled with some students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who are part of the International Learning Community there. Besides eating us out of house and home (as the saying goes) they also entertained us with their language skills -- which were formidable. Roy and Luis were both studying Portugese and I was jealous then, and even more jealous now that I have downloaded the new app from the news magazine Visão.
Revista Visão (Vision Magazine) is a free iPad app from the leading news magazine from Portugal and it should be viewed by other publishers -- whether you can read Portugese or not.

The app reveals that its creators are serious developers immediately: there is no portrait mode, a decision that at first seems strange (being that print magazines are naturally in "portrait mode"), but which turns out to be brilliant. First, I prefer to read in landscape, so I have a bit of a built in bias. But the real reason this works so well is that landscape is the natural shape of most photography, and this app takes full advantage of the iPad's display.
There are the usual bells and whistles here, but they do not overwhelm the app. In most stories the reader scrolls down to reach the second or third page of a story. One feature, though, offers the reader a continuous scroll (seen below in the animated GIF).

Yes, there is video and animation here, as well, which is handled well. But the best thing about Revista Visão is that the iPad app does the two things a good tablet publication should do: it thinks "native", that is it is designed for the device; and it takes advantage of the publication's strengths, in this case the excellent page design of the print magazine.

Back in 2007 Visão under went a redesign -- you can see the post from the consultants used for the project here -- and the result was dramatic layouts, good use of photography, etc. What is impressive here is that the designers did not try to replicate the exact print layouts for the iPad but instead used the same vision and sense of design to create something new.
Revista Visão was released last week and today Medipress has released another app for the Portugese market, CARAS. While Visão is a serious news magazine, CARAS is a celebrity magazine. Depending on your own magazine's persuasion I would rush to download one of these apps while the content remains free. Revista Visão, in particular, is a great example of native design for the tablet, and will provide a sharp contrast to the next group of apps I'll look at next.