Monday, June 6, 2011

AA Mag tries to tackle the issue of languages with separate apps for different App Stores with mixed results

Part one of two: dealing with multiple language requirements in tablet publishing. Here the developer created one app with two languages.

It's a difficult question for a developer to answer: how do you deal with reaching readers using different languages? with different content within the same app, or with separate apps?
AA Mag, the digital magazine for the animation business in France does it with one app with the option to have delivered the English or French content. Designed by Alter Ego Medias, and developed by Onde M, both from Annecy, France, the app is free to download, and the content is free, as well.

(Annecy is in the Rhône-Alpes region of south-eastern France, and is the home of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market, which is the subject of the digital magazine app.)

The language choice is to be found on the opening page of the app, but is, unfortunately, hidden from view unless one taps the screen. This design flaw is somewhat mitigated by the screenshot shown in the app description. Nonetheless, this should be visible right up from, otherwise readers may find themselves at a loss. (English is the default setting, so it is the French who are at a disadvantage.)

Of course, while the content can change to deliver the right language experience, the app's internal navigation commands should, as well. This is where this particular app falls down a bit. Navigating the library, or kiosk as it is called here, can be a bit difficult if you encounter the wrong language.

The digital magazine itself is delivered in small doses, 36 pages an issue, and the first issue was around 50MB, if I recall.

The navigation between pages is interesting: one swipes between pages but rather than seeing the pages move across the screen the pages instead pop in and out. It a bit of a different approach which I found a bit disconcerting, but I guess one could get used to this way of doing it.