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National Geographic tablet app paves the way for innovative digital formats

National Geographic tablet app paves the way for innovative digital formats

By using a combination of breathtaking images, specially curated content and social networking tools, the tablet app for National Geographic magazine does something that not many publications are willing to do, according to minonline: the NG app offers users an experience that is totally different from print magazine-reading.

Unlike many magazines, whose tablet apps consist of digital replicas of their print format, the NG app has a compelling splash page which offers readers just enough content—from stories to videos to photos—without being visually overwhelming, the article said.

“The art of this app is that it doesn’t overwhelm you like the site with a torrent of content. It is highly curated each day to give the user a taste,” the article said. “And this seems to us a novel and thoughtful way to come at the tablet.”

App users also have access to the full NG catalog, searchable by videos, articles, galleries, or featured photos, the article said. 

As we previously reported, the National Geographic tablet app was among the top five best-selling news apps in Apple’s Newsstand for iPad in February. Clearly, the app designers are doing something right—and minonline thinks it has a lot to do with the branding possibilities of creating a tablet product that doesn’t strictly imitate print or online versions.

“It reminds tablet users about the treasures to be found among the magazine’s reporting and photography troves, and it likely will pique interest in its other revenue-generating products,” the articles said. “It is an open invitation to other magazine brands to consider how they can leverage carefully curated free content into unique tablet experiences that promote the brand’s strengths…we think this is a great opportunity for magazine brands to think outside the usual print and Web boxes to use tablets as a way to merchandise their brands.

The debate between replica versus non-replica tablet editions ranges from magazines to newspapers, and is far from straightforward. As we previously reported, The Boston Globe recently introduced an ePaper replica version of its daily newspaper for tablets in hopes of creating a digital product that would supplement its other platforms. One of the benefits of replica editions is that, once downloaded, they can be read in areas without Wi-Fi access. Furthermore, some readers simply want more of a print-reading experience on a tablet, rather than a search-oriented one.

Is an interactive, browsing-focused tablet app ideal for all publications? Maybe not. But for those with highly visual and creative content, the digital possibilities seem endless.

Sources: minonline, National Geographic


Gianna Walton


2012-04-13 16:12

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