Tuesday, October 9, 2012

451 Magpad: New French tablet-only magazine shows some the advantages of designing exclusively for tablets

Alright, has some gone and give a name to magazines designed specifically for the iPad? Magpad? OK, it's catchy, but I have my doubts about the name.

Moving on... late last week a new digital magazine was launched into the Apple Newsstand that goes a long way to showcasing the advantages of designing specifically for tablets.

Larger view
451 Magpad is a new French digital magazine that takes its name from the Fahrenheit 451, the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel – though it appears the publisher may have been more inspired by the François Truffaut film of that same book.

Launched into the Apple Newsstand by Chien sans tête Production (Headless dog), one can tell that the folks behind this new project are having fun.

The person behind this new tablet magazine is Fabien Rocha (with Fred Coiffe credited with graphics).

The new magazine is free to download and access, allowing designers and publishers to take a good look at the ideas being presented here. The fact that it is totally in French may even be an advantage to designers.

The first issue inside weighs in at just under 500 MB and is a very slow download. Once opened, the issue is to be read in portrait only and clearly is so large because of the animation inside, as well as a rather lengthy video.

Much of the animation is superfluous and seems to be there simply to be consistent. The rest is really very nice. The article layouts the increasingly standard pattern of scrolling within stories and swiping to reach the next. The first edition contains lots of links to information about authors and contributors the resides outside the app – but the multimedia is embedded.

The video walk-through below gives you a good idea of the app and is a bit longer than normal (3 minutes) because of the animation and video.
App description:
451 est un magpad curieux et
transmédias pour tablettes sensibles.
451 s'intéresse au monde qui passe
et aux temps qui changent.
451 aime les enquetes, les reportages, la photographie, l'illustration, les films et le son...

This certainly one of those magazine apps that I wish came with instant translation as the articles on the pharmaceutical industry, Libya and Afghanistan piqued my interest. I'm still stunned that the folks at Apple haven't gotten around to providing a built-in translation feature – it would only work, of course, where the app was rendering the text rather than those situations where the text embedded into an image file. (iBooks has a speech feature, but no translation.)

Here is the video walk-through. You'll note a dissolve where I skip a number of similarly designed articles: