How To Design An Online Publication
Why publish offline when it’s costly, offers limited interactivity and kills trees? Think digital (from the start) and your publications will engage with readers so effectively you will wonder why you haven’t already gone fully digital.
Digital publication provides a whole new world for magazine design, from interactive touch and swipe controls to videos and animation, magazines are now able to quite literally dance for your attention. But knowing how to design them is vital to their success. PageTiger are experts at translating print to digital and here outline key design philosophies to consider, current publishing trends and how we can help you to achieve digital success.
Digital – less is more
Gone are the days of cluttered double page spreads. Thanks to the digital format, content no longer needs to be packed into a set amount of space.
The mantra we tell our clients is ‘less is more’. Thanks to the addition of interactivity, on-page content can be reduced, with various features stepping in to do the heavy lifting. For text-rich sections and features, leave the opening paragraphs on the page, and drop the rest into a nifty pop-up box. This enables you to deliver your desired content without having to compromise a striking visual design.
The newly liberated real estate can now be used to add some serious ‘wow’ to your pages. Images can be given pride of place and video can further develop an hands-on, media-rich publication. With dynamic pages that explode with colour and sound, reader attention is maximised, backed up by interactive CTAs, augemented by ‘unlimited’ pop-up content – you’ll quickly find an upward curve in reader engagement. All measurable of course.
Interactivity and usability
When designing a publication, there are key aspects you should address:
Where will it be displayed?
If you plan to embed in an iframe on your company Facebook page, then make sure each page is designed to a height of 149.9mm per single page, and the iframe does not exceed 800 pixels in width.
How will it be viewed?
Knowing which devices people are using will let you know the dimensions your publication needs to have. For example, iPhones and iPod touches have a ratio of 15:10, whereas iPads use a traditional 4:3 ratio.
Have you got the balance right?
There is a balance to be found between interactivity and usability. Although interactive features like polls, clickable links and image galleries can boost reader engagement; it’s possible to overdo interactivity. There have been times when clients have overloaded a page, and we have to reel their enthusiasm in.
Attention is in the eye of the beholder
As the old saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, and PageTiger couldn’t agree more. The perfect picture can make your pages go from zero to hero in the blink of an eye.
With the majority of current social media being driven by vast banks of images and videos, reader attention is guided by what they see, before what they read.
Although there are people who would likely argue against this, our clients’ most successful publications have been visually appealing, with a carefully considered design and media rich content. Therefore we plant our Tiger-branded flag in the pro-visual camp.
The digital landscape has little room for portrait
Is portrait dead? While some publishers may choose to maintain an ‘A4 style’ publication online, digital publications no longer have to follow the rules of print. The beauty of digital publishing is that you have the freedom to design to your own parameters – the only limit is your imagination and maximizing the screen real estate.
With the wealth of mobile devices and tablets offering users a ‘flippable’ screen, landscape has become the preferred orientation – with many operating systems, including Windows 8 and RT utilising a landscape user-interface.
At PageTiger we anticipated this change, and design our online publications to fit ‘cinemascope’ desktop screens, tablet and mobile browsers. Designing this way will ensure that your publication will not only be available for high-quality viewing across all devices, but that people will be able to easily and enjoyably engage with your content without issue.
Short and sweet
Length isn’t everything – you may have been able to fill 100 pages with fascinating content, but the majority of it won’t be read.
The number of pages a publication should have is a tricky question to answer. There is a balance between reader engagement and saying everything you want to say. We suggest aiming for between 10 and 14 pages – our experience has shown us that this number is optimal, as it occupies the ‘goldilocks zone’ between too long and too short.