Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pyramyd launches a new replica edition app for its étapes: – painfully slow download tests a reader's patience

One would think that a magazine all about graphic design would care about, you know, design. But in the world of tablet publishing we've come to understand that even the most picky editors and publishers lose their design values once the job of creating a tablet edition is required.
The new tablet edition from étapes: magazine, seen in the App Stores as Etapes international, is a replica edition built using the digital publishing solution from Wigoo.

The app is free and once installed the reader can access a back issue for free in order to test out the magazine. Beware: it is a slow download. No, really, a very slow download. No, seriously, really, really slow. Got it?

Weighing in at 235.74 MB, the preview issue is one of those click and out of lunch types of downloads. Imagine how bad it would be if this were a natively designed tablet edition?

Well, actually, étapes: does have a natively designed app. Etapes: The Digital Issue was an app that launched last June. TNM wrote about the app then but apparently the app was simply an experiment – you can read that report here.

The new étapes: app is one of those magazines critics might use to show how bad magazines look on the new iPad's 'retina' display. And yes, the fonts are bad when one uses pinch-to-zoom to magnify them (do you like the silly graphic I created below?).
But the reality is that one doesn't zoom in that far to read a magazine. So who cares if the fonts are a bit less than sharp?

The problem here isn't the fuzzy text and less than retina-quality scans used to create this tablet edition, the problem is that this was a magazine designed to be read in print and the publisher has made a decision to go with a design once for all environments type of publishing solution – rather than honoring the art of magazine design by re-imagining their magazine for the tablet.

As far as the replica edition goes, once the reader successfully downloads the issue things go better. The navigation is smooth and the pages load quickly. But did I mention how slow the download was?