May
03
2010
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Converting Print Publications to a Digital Realm. Where to Begin?

When considering migrating a print publication into the digital realm there are a few basic things to consider.

1. The intent of the digital publication.
2. Your audience and how they are currently interacting with the print piece along with how that will change when moving to a digital version.
3. The format you will use: Flash, Blog- and Website-based, Flip book, or a Hybrid approach.
The Intent.
Some print publications can transition into digital formats very successfully, offering viewers more benefits such as: a larger source of visual elements through photo galleries, more timely updates through social media such as twitter and RSS feeds, opportunities to provide feedback, and opportunities to engage with the community of readers through blogs and share-based avenues.
Your Audience.
Switching a publication to a digital format should not always be about reducing your costs, you need to consider what is right for your audience. It can be more difficult to attract and retain readers in the digital rather than the print medium, so you may want to consider either doing both print and digital, or consider slowly phasing out the print version. Whichever path you decide to take, you need to consider that all audiences interact with digital media in a very different way than print, so you will need to evaluate such elements as: typography, images, article length and content flow (navigation).
  • Typography: Traditional digital unlike print has more limitations with regards to size and font style, however if you have a highly designed publication you may want to consider producing it in flash as this will give you the most creative freedom out of all the digital mediums.
  • Imagery: Unlike typography, digital mediums offer more flexibility and freedom when it comes to images. It opens up opportuities to create large galleries or use more engaging background photography. Video can also be used to bring your site to life.
  • Article Length: People often read more quickly online versus print, so realize that a viewer is more likely to become bored faster. To combat this, we suggest using shorter paragraphs and breaking up longer articles into multiple pages. You can even offer a condensed version online with the opportunity to download a longer version in PDF format.
  • Content Flow (navigation): The No. 1 rule related to navigation is that it should be easy to find whatever you are looking for within the content of an online publication. Across the design, the navigation should be consistent, concise and helpful. We suggest engaging the reader with snippets of content to encourage them to flow through the site.
The Format:
There are generally four interactive formats that can be used for online publication each having their own pros and cons.
  • Flash-based: This is a great format for image and interactive heavy publications. This format can be more customized with graphics and typography compared to traditional web-based media. It offers extensive engagement through the use of animation, video and games. Social media can easily be used and re-distribution is very useful. A flash based publication can be portable by creating an application that allows a view to interact with the site without being connected to the internet. The main disadvantages of  using Flash are the limited use it has on smart phones (smart phones don’t support Flash) and search engine optimization will be more difficult. It is however a terrific solution for non-consumer based publication and ones that are created for a limited distribution.
  • Blog- and Website- based: This is a good solution for a publication that will be discarding the print version. Distribution is simple, and if a content management system is set-up then updating the content will also be easy. Unlike Flash if you want a highly visual publication then this may not be the right solution, or at least more consideration has to occur in the initial design. One major drawback to this option is the security, because of the ease that a viewer has to use the cut-and-paste functions, your copyrighted content can easily be stolen.
  • Flip Book: One of our least favorite options because it is the least interactive. Visually, it is no different than a print piece.The file size can be excessive, and on smaller monitors it is difficult to read.
  • Hybrid: This format is the combination of any or all three approaches above and also the one that we at Soloflight suggest to all our clients because: it gives the reader the best of both worlds and uses all the content generated for a traditional publication to its fullest potential while offering more substance to engage and build reader loyalty.

See below a sample of a Hybrid publication that we just created for AutoTrader.com or go to www.atcaboveandbeyond.com

Autotrader_home

Autotrader_championsAutotrader_champions2Autotrader_galleryAutotrader_volunteering

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May
03
2010
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GCHA Launches Refocus Publication

The Georgia Children’s Health Alliance and Georgia Department of Community Health launched their Child Health Report on April 29. Challenging readers to refocus their views on children’s health, the report provides an overview along with specific highlights on key indicators. Areas for improvement in both situation and data collection are emphasized to spur on community engagement. “It’s nothing but a report unless we bring it to life,” says Donna Hyland, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Soloflight Design partnered with the GCHA team and Georgia Department of Community Health to produce the campaign messaging of Refocus and solid framework. Putting a different spin on the data with bright colors, bold call-outs and strong photography gave the report an approachable feel drawing readers to connect with the document.

You can download your own copy of the report at: www.thegcha.org/report

GCHA_Refocus_Soloflight

GCHA_Refocus_Soloflight

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