Production advice for iPad content

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Design firm The Wonderfactory has waded into helping publishers develop content for the iPad. Jared Cocken, one of the firm’s creative directors, recently shared his thoughts on how publishers should approach tablets.

Media Business: What kind of growth do you foresee for the iPad market?

Cocken: Publishers are trying to convert two audiences into new paying customers for digital content (Web users and magazine readers). Our usability studies over the last two years show that Web users expect apps to behave more like websites and magazine readers expect them to behave like magazines. Perhaps this is not a huge surprise.

Many publishers and developers are creating apps that rely on “skeuomorphic designs” to win customers over to a new platform. Some of them are building apps just to have their content available on the iOS platform. It’s easy to see why. Many publishers are relying on aging content management systems that aren’t agile enough to cope with these huge streams of real-time data. The easiest thing for them to do is create something that works very much like their existing websites.

The under-the-hood power and natural simplicity of the iPad’s touch interface mean that we have an opportunity to redesign the way that people consume news and magazines.

MB: What advice can you give production managers who are looking for an iPad developer to help them?

Cocken: Someone that understands the four phases of good application design: strategy, platform, work flow and user experience … someone who under­stands Web production as well as print production. —M.J.M.

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