Archive for August, 2012

Designing for Digital Publications

Tips from Rupert Knowles, Senior System Engineer, Adobe

Over the past couple of years I have worked with many clients building publications with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. One of the great things about Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) is that it allows publishers to use existing in-house graphic design expertise to create both their paper based publications and their digital cousins.

I am constantly amazed at how a designer from a pure print background can very quickly create stunning interactive publications. However, the designer will still need to learn new skills unique to digital production. In particular you need to think about the user experience, and the journey that the reader will take as they navigate the publication.

There is a tendency with any new technology to sometimes overuse the features just for the sake of it. It is always worth using them in moderation and where appropriate. And remember, with Adobe DPS analytics, you can measure whether people are interacting with the elements that you create.


One of the first things to decide on is the size of the font. Typically, for body text, most DPS apps use 16-18 point. One of the most common mistakes I have seen is that the text size has been set too small.

Not all fonts look as good on screen as they do in print. This is less of an issue with Apple’s retina displays, but you should still make sure the typeface serves its purpose well.

And remember you can now choose to render your pages as PDF output. This not only reduces the folio size but also allows people to pinch and zoom on the article.

Navigation & Interaction 

The display on a 10” tablet is a lot smaller than the page size of your average magazine. So an 80-page paper publication could translate into a much larger digital edition.

This is one of the reasons why publishers create publications that scroll both horizontally and vertically.

Figure 1 – Most magazine use 2 dimensions

However some publishers prefer to flatten the folio so that the title only scrolls horizontally. This create a simpler user experience, but the reader now has to swipe through a lot more pages, and it can become a bit unwieldy.

Figure 2 – In this example from Foxtons Area Magazine, they only use horizontal scrolling

To help with this scenario, we have just introduced a feature called 2 finger swiping. Swiping with one finger will take you to the next page, but swiping with two fingers will take you the next article or section.

An important aspect when adding an interactive overlay to your publication is to make sure that the dynamic element does not prevent or restrict the reader from moving to another page, for example creating a full screen swipe-able slideshow or image sequence would block the reader from changing the page. I would recommend leaving a consistent part of the page as “non-interactive” so that the reader quickly learns where to swipe from to change page.

We have made this process easier with the addition of another new feature, hot zone page control. Hot Zones let users tap the edges of the article to browse to the next or previous articles. You can define the width of the Hot Zones in Viewer Builder. Hot Zones take precedent over all overlays with the exception of buttons.


Whenever you create a publication it is important to establish a set of icons or symbols to denote which parts of a page are interactive. It needs to be clear to the reader where to swipe or tap to access a specific feature.

Figure 3 – Icons from Lakeland Magazine

It is also good practise to provide positional cues throughout the publication to indicate if a story continues and show how many more pages there are to go.

Figure 4 – Navigation cues from Uncut Bowie

We all know how a paper publication works, the goal here is try and make the digital variant as intuitive as possible.

Finally encourage your readers to explore by making it fun.


10:32 PM Permalink

App of the Week – Scientific American

By Teresa Demel

Nature Publishing Group recently introduced the tablet edition of Scientific American for iPad.  In order to stay connected to its subscriber base, the publication uses direct entitlement, available in the Enterprise Edition of Digital Publishing Suite. Since I have a subscription to the print version of the magazine, I demonstrate the effortless one-step process of gaining access to the digital version.

As a magazine renowned for educating the public about scientific methodology and insights, Digital Publishing Suite allows Scientific American to more clearly illustrate scientific processes, such as how psychologists research animal desire and aversion, or concepts, such as the neural pathways that regulate pleasure.

Watch the video to see it in action: 

5:21 PM Permalink

Sotheby’s: Exploring the Extraordinary

The iPad, with its rich visual display and interactive quality, enables content publishers to create app experiences that are the next best thing to seeing something in person. This is certainly true in the case of Sotheby’s Catalogues, an iPad app created by the distinguished auction house to extend and enhance its print catalogue experience.

Every year, Sotheby’s conducts more than 300 auctions, and print catalogues published for each auction are deeply valued by Sotheby’s clients. Collectors can view items in person at an exhibition held a week prior to each auction, but those who can’t make the exhibition now have another option. Using the Sotheby’s Catalogues app, collectors can immerse themselves in an object’s beauty and rich history through video, 360‐degree views, pinch‐and‐zoom images, and other forms of tactile, emotive exploration.

For Sotheby’s, the app represents an opportunity to further engage clients. Designers leverage the print layout and use Digital Publishing Suite to layer in interactive capabilities to produce the digital edition. The app includes a host of interactive features, including the ability for collectors to take notes just as they do in the print catalogues and the opportunity to see results in real time as an auction progresses. Adobe Digital Marketing Suite helps Sotheby’s continue enhancing the client experience by showing what content drives engagement.

Josh Pullan Vice President, Worldwide Director of Digital Media Services at Sotheby’s says, “Through the combination of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite and Adobe Digital Marketing Suite, we’re learning how to promote our sales and auctions in the most effective ways and deliver an elegant experience for clients.”

Read the Sotheby’s Case Study here

Watch the video on the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Enterprise page

2:50 PM Permalink

Content created by you. Production handled by Adobe.

By Terri Stone, Online Community Manager, Creative Suite

Hey designers! There’s a new app in town, and it’s called Adobe SWAPP. Think of this multi-issue iPad publication as a community-driven swap meet, where Creative Suite users trade tips, tricks, and inspiration.

Contributing to SWAPP is a great way to promote yourself, since every tutorial ends with a full-page author profile. You can use that profile to show people your creative work; link to your website and social media accounts; advertise your products or services; and more.

To be a part of SWAPP, simply download the professionally designed templates from and follow the instructions. No coding required! Plus, you can use the templates and accompanying assets in any other personal or commercial project.

After you submit a folio, we’ll make sure your tutorial works with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. Then we’ll combine it with other community-created tutorials and submit the issue to the iTunes App Store. Meanwhile, you can just sit back and wait for your genius to be seen by millions.

You can download the free app here. For more information about contributing and to download the templates, click here.

As an online community manager at Adobe, Terri Stone feels lucky to be paid to interact with some of the most creative, smart people around. Before joining Adobe earlier this year, she was the long-time editor in chief of and its sister publication, InDesign Magazine.

9:00 PM Permalink

Men’s Health Follows iPhone Debut with Dynamically Designed Issue

Men’s Health, published by Rodale Inc. and the world’s largest men’s magazine brand with print circulation of 1.9M, was the first Digital Publishing Suite magazine to be developed for the iPhone. It launched in June 2012 and saw a leap in mobile readership. Today, the September issue has been released offering a dynamic, interactive reading experience, designed specifically for the 3.5” screen.

The magazine industry recognizes the opportunity to reach 220 million iPhone and iPod Touch users as important for driving loyalty and growth in its subscriber base while providing a unique platform for advertising sponsorships.  In their newest iPhone issue, Men’s Health has developed a thoughtfully designed interface that provides the same high quality reading experience as tablet and print.

The team at Rodale had two major goals with this latest issue – make a magazine experience that was highly tuned to portability and deliver dynamic content that leveraged the multimedia capabilities of the iPhone. The design and production team at Rodale structured the iPhone app layout based on the smartphone user experience. The iPhone app allows a reader to easily jump in and out of content – read quick statistics while waiting in line or reference a workout routine while at the gym. Readers can also dive deeper into an article when riding the subway or sitting on the couch at home.

To enable a clean user experience, the team implemented innovative, top level navigation which includes colorful iconography that organizes information in a very visual way, as well as title pages with large font that dissolve into the article.  The team also made smart use of overlays – such as videos of workout routines and an audio recording of Garrison Keillor. With the iPhone screen size, the publisher has successfully maintained a proper balance between imagery and text so that the content feels natural to consume.

Rodale has already seen the Men’s Health iPhone and iPad apps bring new readers to the brand and re-engage previous subscribers. Men’s Health readers are sure to be pleased with the latest iPhone app, finding it easy to progress from short- to long-form reading.  The iPhone application joins the highly successful iPad app and has let the Rodale brand shine in a different mobile channel, giving them a boost in building a strong brand in the digital space.

The app of the week video shows off the iPhone user experience. The content remains the same as the print edition and iPad app, but the design changes based on the form factor and user experience. Check out the video below to see how the Rodale team designed the app for a small screen, while still delivering an engaging and fun reading experience.

Watch the video here:


Read the article posted today by Folio: Men’s Health Upgrades to More Interactive iPhone Edition.


6:16 PM Permalink

App of the Week – The New Yorker on iPhone

By Teresa Demel

By now, I am sure you have read the latest news about The New Yorker on the iPhone from Fast Company, Mashable, and All Things D. You have seen the video starring Lena Dunham. The team at Adobe is excited to see it in action. Check out the app of the week video below, where I walk you through the latest issue.

Watch the video here: 

11:10 PM Permalink

New Features Improve User Experience and Enhance Social Sharing

Digital Publishing Suite has released a new set of features today that allow publishers to create a more branded and personalized experience for readers. Publishers can build a custom library, enable filtering of folios based on user preference, and share content more widely through social sharing. Zeke Koch, Sr Dir of Product Management, outlines the new features in this presentation. (Use Safari, Internet Explorer, or Firefox. There is an echo for the first two minutes only.) Visit the Digital Publishing Suite Help Center for more detailed information.

Custom Library
Similar to creating a custom HTML store, publishers who purchase the Enterprise Edition of Digital Publishing Suite can now create a custom library for Android, Kindle Fire, iPad, and iPhone applications. The custom library allows publishers to give readers an extended branded experience when downloading and managing folios. This was created because publishers want to maintain a cohesive look and feel across the application, store, and library, consistent with more traditional touch points like a publisher’s website.

The screenshot below provides an example of a custom library, which are built using Javascript APIs available in the AdobeDigitalPublishingSuiteDeveloperCenter.

Left: Out-of-the-box Library, Right: Sample Custom Library

Social Sharing on iPhone
Social sharing is now supported on iPhone, and folios can be shared across all iOS mobile devices as well as in the web viewer. For example, if a reader shares an article from an iPhone, another reader can open it on any iPad or iPhone, assuming the publisher has built renditions for each device.

Filtering Folios
Your readers may want access to a more limited selection of folios available in the app’s library. For example, if you publish a seasonal catalogue, the filter feature allows readers to select and view only the folios in their season of interest. Publishers set up the filters by adding metadata in Folio Producer. The example below shows a clothing catalogue that can be filtered into Spring and Summer.

Example: Filtering Folios Based on Season

Two Finger Swipe
Publications such as National Geographic often use “flattened stacks.” This means that readers swipe through an article horizontally, instead of scrolling down within the article. Publishers can now set up navigation so that readers use a two-finger swipe to move to the next article, bypassing the remainder of the article. In the example below, the first article is in horizontal layout, and the reader could use two-finger swipe to jump to the next article.

7:49 PM Permalink

The New Yorker Released on iPhone












Today, The New Yorker iPhone edition launched using Digital Publishing Suite. The iPhone app has every story and cartoon included in the print edition made more engaging through smart use of interactivity.

Delivered each Monday to a reader’s mobile device, the singular content and classic design of the magazine has been translated to the iPhone platform allowing The New Yorker to build their brand and extend their reach to 220 million iPhone and iPod Touch users worldwide. Smartphones are a constant in readers’ daily lives, and publishing to the iPhone gives The New Yorker another opportunity to connect with its existing readers as well as new audiences – while on the go, waiting in line, or sitting on the couch at home.

The iPhone app includes all the great content from the print issue, plus the highly engaging audio, video, and slideshow features included in the iPad app. With the iPhone app, the design and editorial teams at The New Yorker have proven that the integrity of a magazine can be maintained on a small screen. With thoughtful design and a keen understanding of how their readers  like to engage with digital issues, The New Yorker has proven that long form content can be easy to consume and navigate,  while honoring the branding of the magazine, and taking advantage of the iPhone’s connectedness and multimedia capabilities.

The greatest strength of The New Yorker’s iPhone application design is its information architecture.  The design team has approached it from a perspective of content hierarchy, with clear section headings that allow readers to drill down into topics. As an example, see the screenshot below. The Talk of the Town has sections and titles that are easily read on the small screen, allowing readers to scan the headers and open up a folder to read more.












Ever since Digital Publishing Suite launched, readers have been asking to see their favorite magazines on their smartphones. The demand is there. It will be exciting to see iPhone issues evolve as readers’ demands shape the type of content and layout presented on the iPhone.

Teresa Demel will be exploring The New Yorker iPhone app in more detail in an App of the Week video.  Stay tuned.

Download the app on the iTunes store!

4:56 PM Permalink

Just Launched: Architectural Digest and Lucky Magazine

Condé Nast published WIRED using Digital Publishing Suite over two years ago and has since standardized on the platform, using it to roll out iconic publications such as Vogue, Glamour and The New Yorker on leading tablet devices. With 18 Condé Nast titles published to tablets using Digital Publishing Suite, many of which have received an “Outstanding App” rating from the iMonitor report and been highly rated on the app store, Condé Nast is moving forward with two new titles on iPad, Kindle Fire, and the Nook.  Architectural Digest and Lucky magazine, also built with Digital Publishing Suite are sure to see the same success.

Architectural Digest delivers spectacular photographs in tablet application

Architectural Digest is considered a must read by both professional and inspiring interior designers, with a total audience of nearly five million.  Loyal readers expect and love the high value photography and inspirational editorial included in the magazine.  Featuring cultural trends, design innovations, and travel recommendations, AD takes readers around the world highlighting stunning architecture and interior design.  The tablet application is uniquely built to provide readers with a subtle and elegant use of interactivity that supports the editorial.

  • Readers can tap on captions to hide them, revealing a beautifully decorated room
  • Slideshows allow readers to see a building from multiple angles – provide readers to experience and become more immersed in a residence  than the printed page allows
  • Janet Echelman’s public artwork is captured on video. Although photography can show the dramatic line and form of her sculptures, only video can fully communicate the impact of her inventive lighting against the night sky.

Lucky Magazine Blends Editorial and Commerce

Lucky calls itself the “Ultimate Shopping Guide,” spotting and recommending clothing, shoes, and accessories for women. As Editor in Chief Brandon Holley describes in her opening letter, the editorial staff has to love the items that they recommend, and that item needs to be available for purchase. The personality of the staff comes through the editorial, and reading the magazine feels a little like shopping with a friend.

The Lucky digital edition makes it easy to shop directly from the pages by tapping on the credits. This blend of commerce and editorial is a win-win for the publication and the merchandisers whose clothing, accessories and jewelry are featured in the digital issue, driving revenue for the brands and a subscriber base for Lucky.  The image below illustrates how readers can tap on the article of clothing and purchase it without leaving the app. The caption below opens up the Philip Lim e-commerce website. Readers can make a purchase, close the web page, and return directly to the publication and reading experience.


Lucky magazine also has a promotional discount program called “Lucky Breaks” that builds up a database of very engaged customers. The tablet edition provides exclusive offers not available on the website (pictured below), which will likely accelerate subscription revenue and grow a bigger following of loyal Lucky readers who love their shopping discounts.

With this application, Lucky is exploring new business models outside of subscriber and advertising revenue.  While Lucky doesn’t currently take a cut of any sales made through the app, this may not always be the case. Holley told WWD that   the magazine may eventually partner with retailers in a revenue-sharing scheme, but did not offer a timeline.  The blurring between magazine and catalog shopping experience continues.  Magazines offer a perfect opportunity to turn readers into consumers by blending lifestyle editorial with the ability to swipe through an issue and “sort out your wardrobe” with a single click.


5:19 AM Permalink

Technology and Brand: Joe Simon Discusses Condé Nast’s Digital Strategy

Folio: Mag recently interviewed Joe Simon, CTO of Condé Nast to understand how Simon, who previously worked at Viacom, views the strategic interplay between technology and brand at Condé Nast. Some interesting themes emerged in this interview.

Simon’s view point is that technology is endemic to every part of a publisher’s business – advertising/ sales, editorial, design and production, etc., and can no longer be siloed from the core, day to day running of a publishing house.  Technology must be the foundation on which brands continue to thrive and expand in hyper connected societies in which readers expect content whenever and wherever they demand it.    This notion of highly dynamic, highly available content has been further fueled by the surge in mobile adoption, the maturing of social tools, the easy accessibility of video players and the crucial role of CMS. According to Simon, smart publishing companies are using technology to redefine the boundaries of their business as well as understand that technology is directly influencing the need for new business models in order to take advantage of the digital revolution.

The Evolution of Supporting Technology

At the heart of Condé Nast’s technology platform is Adobe Creative Suite including InDesign and Digital Publishing Suite, which make technology accessible to brands that can more easily create, publish and optimize content across leading mobile platforms.   This has allowed Condé Nast to take the next step in transforming itself from a print publisher to a leading media company.  Read the detailed interview here.

3:12 PM Permalink