August 7, 2015 Last Updated 1:00 pm

Another look: Ink’s native digital editions for American Way

Built using the Mag+ digital publishing platform, Ink delivers a very nice iPad version of the inflight magazine, and an abbreviated, but well-designed digital edition for iPhone

The past few weeks have involved a fair bit of travel lately. Last week I flew to Dallas to attend a family event and to be lectured by several relatives about the President – he is, I was told, not an American, unlike the previous President. It will be a long time before I return.

AA-iPad2The flights, though, were uneventful – which these days is about the best on can say when flying. The flight down featured seats so tightly squeezed together that I needed to pry my knees against the back of the seat in front of me, lifting me slightly off my own seat, in order to be comfortable.

On the way back I was lucky enough to be place in the back against a bulkhead, which took away the under seat storage, but provided a far more comfortable seating arrangement.

Whenever I fly these days on United or American I am reminded of the Genesis song Get ‘Em Out By Friday:

I hear the directors of Genetic Control have been buying all the properties
that have recently been sold,
taking risks oh so bold
It’s said now that people will be shorter in height
They can fit twice as many in the same building site
(They say it’s all right)

Each airline, of course, offers its own inflight magazine, American’s being American Way. I found the editorial uninspiring, though that may be because celebrity features do not interest me.

The experience did, however, remind me to look once again at the digital version of the magazine.

The digital version of American Way can be found under the Ink developer account, which likely confuses some readers. Ink produces a number of inflight magazines. In addition to American Way, Ink also does magazines for Brussels Airlines, EasyJet, KLM and others.

AA-iPhone6-380The app for American Way uses the Mag+ digital publishing platform, which produces an easy to read, very well-designed hybrid edition (ads as seen in print, editorial content reformatted).

I like the way the app shows you the downloading of issues, which you can see above-right. What the animated GIF I built does not accurately reflect is the speed of the download, which is much, much slower than seen here. That’s a problem since one might want to download the issue before boarding. It may be the one time you look forward to a delayed flight.

The iPad version of the magazine is very nice, but the iPhone version may be even better except that it doesn’t give you all the content, only five stories in total. I suppose this understandable in that Ink produces so many magazines and needs to redesign for the iPhone edition each month. But it would seem to me that there could be some standard features included in each issue that could be repeated in each issue. Alternatively, the app could place these features elsewhere in the app.

Nonetheless, the digital version of American Way is vastly superior to that of some of American Airlines’ competitors, though it should be pointed out that Hemispheres, the magazine for United Airlines, also has its digital edition app produced by Ink.

Note: A previous version of this story mentions an error message readers would get once an issue had completed its download. But there is an update for this app that appears to solve this minor bug.

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