Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Engadget's Distro, being a weekly, takes a different approach than TNW when creating its tablet magazine

With several thousand posts on TNM it is worth repeating one's self occasionally. So when TNM looked the newly updated app from The Next Web earlier today it is worth examining once again how another web property is handling its own digital tablet magazine.

Engadget, the AOL tech property also has its own digital magazine inside the Apple Newsstand. Engadget Distro, though, is a weekly publication, unlike TNW Magazine. Because of this the development team at AOL Mobile has taken a simpler approach to designing a tablet magazine.

The digital magazines found inside the app could almost be mistaken for a replica edition as the pages are static. No scrolling text boxes or other features of native tablet editions are in this weekly magazine. But the digital pages are, of course, designed specifically for the iPad's display, so the reading experience is natural and pleasant. The page layouts are attractive, no doubt the work of the art director at AOL Mobile, Greg Grabowy, and his team of designers, Eve Binder, Susana Soares and Troy Dunham.

The basic principals of tablet magazine navigation are used for Distro: scrolling to reach the second or third page of a story, swiping to reach the next story. Layouts are repeated to ease production and to create a uniform look (as you would in a print magazine, especially a weekly).
But one can't get over just how low tech this digital magazine is. This approach would be great for magazine like Construction Equipment or Material Handling & Logistics magazines, but for a tech website this doesn't seem appropriate.

I would also question the idea of a weekly magazine for a website. But if the editorial team can handle the schedule, then more power to them – I certainly hope they got raises.

Both digital magazines, TNW Magazine and Engadget Distro are good examples of how a media property using one format, in this case the web, can branch out and create a native digital magazine for tablets. As more and more newspaper look to create their own tablet magazines for local sports and other topics, watching what some of the digital media properties are doing seems like a good idea.

1 Comment:

Tablazines said...

Yea.. I really like the approach Distro takes. I incorporated a lot of their ideas in my upcoming Reader's Mobile publication.