Thursday, May 9, 2013

Follow-up: Fast Company app storefront update explained

This morning, as part of Morning Brief, I wrote about the update for Fast Company's Newsstand app. That update changed the storefront of the app, as well as introduced a one-month subscription. I concentrated on the subscription change as it helped make a point I've wanted to make for a while.

Luckily, Joe Zeff Design, the creator of the app for the publisher, Mansueto Ventures LLC, has posted some background on the app changes. Their story is reposted here:


Over the past year we've worked with Fast Company magazine to design and develop an iPad edition that embodies the spirit of its brand — bold, innovative and forward-thinking. The app is one of six finalists for App of the Year in the Society of Publication Designers competition tomorrow night in New York City.

We updated the app yesterday with an improved storefront that takes a slightly different approach than other digital magazines. Many publishers have overhauled their storefronts to make them more dynamic, adding news feeds and new products to their galleries. New York magazine is a noteworthy example, having creating a bunkbed-like storefront with web content on the top and issues on the bottom.

We too see the potential of adding functionality to the storefront. Bonus features make the app more usable, and more likely that the app will become part of consumers' daily routines. But we disagree with the approach that many publishers have taken, cluttering their storefronts with Twitter feeds and other elements that make it harder for consumers to find their magazines.

After all, that's the reason they visit the storefront in the first place.

Fast Company has evolved. The covers are now much bigger, leveraging Adobe's new default storefront that makes each issue more prominent. We've implemented a set of buttons across the bottom that offer additional content and features, as shown and described below. Tap each image for a larger view:
• Browse: A digest of what's new today on Fast Company's suite of websites. Accessible with one tap, but out of the way of the cover gallery.

• Follow: Fast Company's Twitter feed. Again, it's important to surface this dynamic content, but not at the expense of the issues.

• Attend: Today, this tab provides information about the company's Innovation Uncensored and Innovation By Design events. Expect it to become a portal for live and recorded content from these events, and a place to network with speakers and attendees. More to come.

• Contact and How To: Customer service is an imperative for publishers, and the iPad offers a way to make its resources more accessible and understandable.

• Read: Oh yeah, there's a magazine here, too.

We favor adding the functionality to the bottom of the screen, because all of these dynamic features are now accessible throughout the reading experience by tapping anywhere on their screen. The dynamic content is persistent, but not obtrusive.

The storefront is the end cap of the digital publishing experience, and we're continuing to experiment with ways to add value. Keep watching — and downloading — Fast Company on the iPad for more.

Reposted from the Joe Zeff Design website.