Tuesday, August 2, 2011

IKEA releases updated iOS app that uses Mag+ to bring its catalogue to customers

Swedish home products retailer, IKEA, has released an updated version of its iOS app that adds retina display support for iPhone 4 users, as well as other features such as a store locator.
IKEA has had an iPhone app for its catalogue since the end of 2009. But that app was really just a way of displaying its catalogue on a mobile device, where as this version is far more interactive, and with more features, of course. (Catalog or catalogue? We'll go with catalogue for this post.)

Built using the Mag+ digital publishing system, the newly updated app will work on both an iPhone and iPad, though I would think the tablet is where a home catalogue is more, well, at home.

Because it is based off the print catalogue, the app works best in portrait most of the time But in other circumstances, like with two-page spreads, the app is best in landscape. This is the danger of converting a print product with minimum layout changes.
The app adds a plus sign (+) to products where a little pop-up window will reveal more information about the product. The app also allows readers to pinch-to-zoom to get a better view of the product, but this eliminates the plus sign and the user must go back to the regular view to get that navigation feature back. This probably makes sense since the idea of pinch-to-zoom is to make the picture larger, not a navigation icon. But the user will have to get used to this.

There are other navigation helpers such as a thumbnail view of all the pages and a table of contents. One can also bookmark pages to assist finding products again. The shopper can also email or use Facebook or Twitter to send products to their friends or family.

If you've never seen the IKEA catalogue you need to know that it is a monster: 376 pages in size in this app. So having a digital version is definitely a tree saver. Oh, and I should add, the app has a search mechanism so you won't have to flip through 376 digital pages in order to find that item you are after.

The app is free to download, of course, and once installed gives users the ability to view either English or Spanish language versions of the IKEA catalogue.

Left: the thumbnail view; Middle: the table of contents; Right: pop-up windows give users more information about the products.