New iBook – iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet

In the field of newspaper design, Dr. Mario Garcia is a bit of a legend. Having worked on more than 500 projects including working with some of the biggest news organizations in the World, such as Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Die Zeit, his experience and expertise is unparalleled.

As I started working on the OC Register iPad strategy, I became an avid reader of Mario’s blog. You see, Mario “got it” early on. He knew that the iPad would open new doors of opportunity and the time was ripe to start experimenting with this new and exciting canvas.

So, it’s very fitting what started as individual blog posts about iPad design now has become a full-fledged, multi-touch iBook (buy it in iTunes) dedicated to the exploration of tablet design for news apps.

Mario describes his book as a

“digital book for our times, whether you are a reporter, editor, designer, teacher, student, or just a tablet user with curiosity about strategies that lead to good storytelling in this marvelous new platform.”

Check out the intro video:

The book is chockfull of good information. Really, it should be required reading for anyone in news and content industries just starting to explore the tablet canvas. Mario covers these topics in the book: Storytelling, Navigation, Look & Feel, Pop-Ups, Advertising, Economics, and Media Quartet.

Of course, true to his tablet design beliefs, the book has an abundance of photo slide shows, audio and video files, hyper links, and much more. But the multi-media never get in the way of the written words. Fortunately, words still play an important part in the New World.

I’m honored to have contributed a case study for the book in the form of video interviews with my fellow colleagues at Next Issue on topics ranging from introducing Next Issue to talking about creating navigation paradigms for digital magazines. Case studies are a big part of the book by the way. And that’s great. We are all learning and experimenting together.

Congratulations Mario on a great and educational book! (Also congrats to Reed, who I know worked very hard as editor and art director on the book).

Buy iPad Design Lab in iTunes for $9.99 (you can get a sample for free too)

Designing newspaper and magazine editions for tablets

I have been invited to speak at two conferences in St. Louis. Same topic, two different audiences. That’s what I call synergy. I am in good company. I will be sharing the stage both Thursday and Friday with Mike Schmidt, Art Director at The Daily, while Robert Newman, Creative Director of Reader’s Digest will join us Friday. Topic of discussion: Designing newspaper and magazine editions for tablets.

Below you will find links to the presentations and some other blog posts I have been writing about tablet design and strategies in general.

Thursday presentation: The Newspaper Is Dead, Long Live the NewstabletPresented at: Tablet/Mobile Strategies and Visions for News Organizations, sponsored by the Reynolds Journalism Institute, the Digital Publishing Alliance, the American Society of News Editions and the Mid-America Press Institute.

Friday presentation: Designing For Tablet – The New Breed: Storyteller/Designer/Programmer. Presented at SND STL (Society for News Design)

Posts about tablet design and strategies

A Publisher’s Guide to Tablet Innovation

One Week Into Launch of News iPad App: What’s the Feedback?

Tablet Strategies for Publishers: Framework for Content and Form

Tablet Product Strategy Revealed (VIDEO)

What The Launch Of The Daily Means For Local Publishers

One Week Into Launch of News iPad App: What’s the Feedback?

We are one week into the soft launch of the new Orange County Register iPad app (download), and the feedback is starting to flow in. Good and bad.

From the outset, we had the feeling the product we are developing would not be for everyone. We are distinctively aiming for an audience interested in a curated, highly designed lean-back experience. It is an experience that perhaps won’t appeal to a so-called “news junkie.”  A study conducted about The Daily revealed that they face such a dilemma. “Light” readers love the app while “heavy” readers are skeptical. (I wrote about that here prior to launch.)

For us it is still early, but there are indicators our readers are divided into two camps also. There are those who love the easy navigation, the focus on photos and design, the high use of multimedia. And then there are those who are not satisfied with one complete evening edition (we publish at 6pm) spiced up with some RSS feeds throughout the day. Personally, I can certainly relate to both camps.

Below, I have tried to organize and respond to the feedback received from April 19 through April 26. The feedback is gathered from Twitter, Facebook, iTunes, blogs and emails. I hope you will take the time to leave your comments at the end as well. Continue reading “One Week Into Launch of News iPad App: What’s the Feedback?”

Tablet Product Strategy Revealed (VIDEO)

We are about two weeks away from launch of our newest app for the Orange County Register and I finally have something cool to show. We put together a little demo video showing what the app will look like. Check it out and let me know what you think:

The app is a product of many months of hard work from a team of people from across departments. The content is managed in our current CMS NewsGate from CCI and exported to Woodwing’s Pro App Reader.

We will publish a designed and interactive edition every weekday and Saturday at 6pm. Each edition will consist of up to 60 stories curated from the Orange County Register’s newsroom, third party content providers as well as unique stories made specifically for the iPad. In addition, each edition will include a highly interactive magazine-like feature story. The app will also include a breaking news widget, some RSS feeds, weather and traffic widgets.

Just recently, President for Freedom Interactive, Doug Bennett, presented our tablet strategy at MediaXchange. You can download the full presentation here. I thought I would elaborate a bit below about our thinking behind the strategy. Let me know what you think. Continue reading “Tablet Product Strategy Revealed (VIDEO)”

The Orange County Register to launch new iPad app (VIDEO)

Almost there. Over the past six months we have been hard at work, gearing up for the launch of our new Ipad app. I truly believe we are pushing the envelope for what a news product should look like on the iPad. We have looked at how iPad owners use their devices and when they use it. We have researched what our peers are doing and what they are not doing. In particular, we have looked at what magazines look like on the iPad rather than newspapers. I was reminded of a quote I saw in an ad in Rolling Stone Magazine.

Modified a bit it describes how we see the iPad experience:

You surf on the Web. You swim in iPads.

I can’t wait to show you the results of our labor. We are planning to launch end of March. In my next post I will share some of the research that helped us define our product strategy. For now, here’s a little video that explains some of the thinking behind our product. For more info, visit www.ocregister.com/ipad. Read the official press release here.

The Rise of Klout and What It Means For Local Media Companies

Question of the day: “What is your Klout score?”

Sites ranking your online influence are getting all the buzz these days. The higher your score, the more influential you are. Klout is the early leader followed by the likes of Peerindex, and Twitalyzer.The approach is the same for all. Each site scrapes your Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin accounts for data, apply secret formulas and algorithms, and then deliver your social influence score. In seconds, you will know your social audience reach, who you are influencing and how. Continue reading “The Rise of Klout and What It Means For Local Media Companies”