Two digital magazine apps get updated to the new Adobe DPS
‘Inside Energy’ from Shell gets its first iPhone edition, while ‘South Bay Pulse’ from San Jose State University uses move varied layouts for its landscape reading experience
The introduction of the Adobe Digital Publishing Solution has given a number of publishers an opportunity to rethink their digital edition strategy. For some, who believe their digital editions were created simply to allow for greater distribution of their print products, the new solution may not feel appropriate – after all, it is truly a digital-first publishing solution.
But for those dedicated to digital publishing, the new DPS solves a few problems – namely, how to create digital products for mobile devices, while still have those products work well on tablets.
Inside Energy – Stories about people, innovation and our energy future is from Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil company. Their app was originally released in 2011 and has been updated occasionally ever since.
But an update in October introduced the new Adobe DPS version, and allowed the publishing team to finally bring the app to the iPhone.
The look of the app will immediately be familiar to anyone who has seen apps created using the new solution from Adobe. The home page contains lots of boxes with the feature articles, which then lead to native digital page layouts. It is a simple approach to digital publishing, somewhat halfway between a digital news app and a digital magazine. Its main advantage is that readers will find the stories easy and pleasant to read no matter what device they are on.
Shell’s revised digital publication is meant to be read in portrait only, the more natural way someone would read on their smartphone.
South Bay Pulse from San Jose State University, on the other hand, is designed in landscape.
Because of this, the app, though very similar in look to the publication from Shell, feels more natural on the iPad. It is somewhat of a shock to tap on an app on your iPhone and then realize that you have to turn it to landscape.
That doesn’t mean that the digital edition doesn’t work well on the iPhone – it certainly does – just that I would prefer to read this on my iPad.
One downside to the updated app from San Jose State was that articles downloaded incredibly slowly. I don’t know if the university is using their own servers, or those of a third party but the download speed made reading the digital publication a bit frustrating (I hesitate to continue calling these ‘magazines’ though they probably are).
The layouts of South Bay Pulse were much more varied and interesting than that of the Shell publications, which generally stuck to simply layouts that would look familiar to anyone used to the apps from 29th Street Publishing or TypeEngine. Possibly this is because the goal was to maintain the magazine look that might have previously existed with the previous app.
Here one sees scrolling text boxes, embedded video, and the like, just as one would in any digital magazine built using a publishing platform capable of building a native digital magazine.
There are a couple ways one handles “editions” when building app using the new Adobe DPS. Some create archives that are accessible from the app’s home page, while others simply keep adding on stories to the home page so that the reader would continue to scroll down to reach the older stories. Here, with the app from San Jose State, they have made sure to add dates to the headlines so that readers can see how recently each story was published.
One strategy might be to eventually delete these stories after a certain period of time so that the home page doesn’t get out of hand – something that I think the app from SJS is getting dangerously close to.