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Friday Links Roundup, 11 April


News and Links

3 digital innovations at Hearst Magazines
How the publisher has experimented to create successful digital products

By JoVE, I think they’ve got it!
How multimedia publishing can help a niche publishling sector such as the medical industry

Digital transformation: follow the money
Three trends that underscore the increasing pace of the digital transition.

Amazon vs Apple Newsstands
A look at the two digital newsstands

Amazon to Acquire ComiXology
Amazon acquires the leading digital comics distributor

What does Heartbleed mean for journalists?
What are the specific impacts for journalists regarding the Heartbleed security breach?

Friday Links Roundup, 4 April


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

The Couple Feeding Chicago

The Couple Feeding Chicago

A simple, elegant design with a uniform layout and beautiful photography.

News and Links

What makes a good vertical?
Excellent review of the Skift

Are Printed Magazines Growing or Shrinking? Yes
U.S. publishers seem to be prospering despite printing fewer copies of actual magazines.

Has everyone conceded the US ebook market to Amazon?
Fantastic article & great detail on why you need to care whether or not Amazon owns the US ebook market

Lessons in startup investing
Sanoma & Dennis Publishing share some interesting insights from their work with startups

Google Newsstand Updated
Google have rolled out a number of improvements to their Flipboard competitor

99 Problems
ePub publishing brings a lot of headaches - this list of issues hopes to track and fix them.

Friday Links Roundup, 28 March


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

The Murders at the Lake

The Murders at the Lake

A story about a murder investigation, told through the eyes of five different people.

News and Links

Do you have ebook readers or customers in the UK?
New tax laws could increase their prices by up to 20%

Traders Hotels implements PressReader in its 15 hotels
Providing digital access to 2500 mags in hotels across Australia, Asia & the Middle East.

Dealing With Data Frenzy
For any digital publisher, relying on data is no longer an option nor a luxury. It has become a necessity.

The Odd Future of Aggregation
If content aggregation seems old-fashioned, will it be superseded by service aggregation, creating cloud-based communities of shared interests and shared/rented software toolsets?

It’s Never Been a Better Time to Be a Niche Publisher
10 websites investing in high quality journalism

Pew Research’s “State of the News Media 2014”
Wonderful report as always examining journalism

Working in writing, publishing or media?
You need to start reading Jane Friedman’s new weekly series “The Smart Set”

This year, Society for News Design competition sees the legacy of ‘Snow Fall’
See the winners of the Best of Digital Design competition.

The golden age of journalism or Armageddon? Yes.
In many ways, this is the best of times and the worst of times for the industry.

How to handle various media when publishing across multiple platforms

(Note: I’m using some screenshots here for illustration purposes, not as examples of easy ways to transpose items across platforms. Avoid screenshots if you can.)

Publishing on multiple platforms means being conscious of where your content will sit when it’s published, and what your content can do on the medium it lives on.


Capability – Connectivity – Continuity

Three of the biggest shifts you’ll have are based on capability (what devices can do), connectivity (does the device have a web connection) and continuity (is your content a static bundle or can it be updated live).

Failing to consider these factors as you distribute your content in multiple formats across multiple platforms can lead to broken content, confusion, and a poor experience for your reader.

Most media will cover more than one of these factors - for example, an embedded twitter timeline will require a live connection to pull in the account’s tweets (connectivity), and a browser to handle the embed script (capability).

A YouTube embed requires a web connection to play the video (connectivity), and a device that’s capable of displaying video (capability).

Paved with Good Intentions

No matter what tools you are using and what fallbacks you implement, it’s important to remember the intention behind the media you are using, and what you are trying to communicate with it. Use this as a basis for finding the best solution for your reader, rather than what seems technically cool, or quick but lazy.

What to do with.. CAROUSELS

Carousels can work well on wider screens (though they are often abused), but on smaller screens (for example mobile) they can be tricky to navigate, and can be easily missed if the reader is swiping quickly down their screen.

You can use CSS and javascript to work round this, by, for example having a stacked layout for your carousel slides below a certain width, and then activate the carousel above a certain width/height, or by being more mindful of how you position your controls.


The above example centres the arrows and dots for wider screens, and then moves them below and to the sides, so they are easier to see and hit on smaller screens.


The above example converts a numbered carousel to a stacked list while hiding the interactions, once the screen goes below a certain width.

Also, make sure devices with little or no javascript/CSS abilities don’t make a mess of your carousel component layouts.

What to do with.. VIDEO

Video is fairly easy to handle - if a device cannot display a video, provide a fallback image for the video (so they get an impression of what they can expect), a description of the video, and a link to the video so they can watch it later, or get out their laptop and look at it straight away. You might want to consider using a custom url shortener for your links, to provide some consistency and branding.




View this image on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DSgsON3u8E

(Note that you should also be providing captioning and transcripts for your videos if at all possible to help improve accessibility - these transcripts might also be useful as bonus material in your publications, much like DVD extras.)


A handy way to get a decent-size YouTube preview image is to go to http://img.youtube.com/vi/$VIDEOID$/0.jpg, where $VIDEOID$ is the ID of the YouTube video (the bit just after http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=)

What to do with.. CHARTS

Using Google Charts or a similar charting tool? They allow you to create really interesting, interactive charts that work on most modern browsers.

Interactive version

Static version


Using an image to fallback to ereaders that can’t use embedded scripts should work in most cases, as long as the text remains legible at smaller sizes. Google have deprecated image-only charts (though you have until 2015) so an easy solution is to grab a screenshot from the browser version.

Watch out for

  • You can’t push out live data to static charts, so make sure to label and caption charts to avoid confusion.
  • Black and white screen? Make sure there’s sufficient colour contrast, or use patterns instead.
  • Resolution - line graphs may not translate well on low-resolution screens.
  • Again, think of the intention - if your message is very time-sensitive and will date quickly, think about effective ways to cater for that, such as being explicit about the nature of data, and providing ways to find more up-to-date information.

What to do with.. CALCULATORS

Calculators can be useful tools to help personalise a concept for a reader, and tell them a story that’s related to their circumstances. For example, you might be trying to help people save money at home by changing to energy-saving lightbulbs, so you build a widget like the following: Residential Energy Calculator


How do you recreate this widget for say, an ereader, or for a device that doesn’t have flash or the ability to add a form?

Let’s look at the intention - we want to educate people about saving money, and we want to make it personal. So for the not-so-fancy devices, we can replace our widget with a table of the most typical results for the average household, to give the reader a reasonable approximation of what savings they could expect - simply create a table or list of the most typical cases, so readers can get an idea of how it would apply to them.

What to do with.. TWEETS

Twitter prefer that you use their embedding tool when publishing tweets on the web, as it enables counters and functionality for the reader. The code supplied from the embed will give you a neat quote for devices that don’t have javascript, so there may not be a need to worry to much about fallbacks.

With script:

Without script:

Are you headed to Books in Browsers IV in October? The schedule has been posted - some great talks! http://t.co/YHCoCiYJfR

– woop.ie (@makewoopie)


  • Don’t use screenshots, they are ugly and not text.
  • Check if you need to use a certain reference system, as some style guides are bringing out catering for Tweets, e.g. MLA Tweet citations

Friday Link Roundup - 21 March


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

The Game that Saved march Madness

The Game that Saved march Madness

Great use of overlays on top of videos and images. Really nice chapter markers and a very subtle progress bar too.

News and Links

Chief Digital Officers - taking business from old school into the digital world
An interview with Tanya Cordrey, CDO at The Guardian.

Tech gives strugglers the confidence to read more
How ebooks are helping give some readers confidence.

FiveThirtyEight, a data driven news website, launches.
See it here - fivethirtyeight.com/

Inside the Guardian’s CMS: meet Scribe, an extensible rich text editor
Looking for a rich text editor? Scribe is based on HTML’s contentEditable attribute.

Spring cleaning? Upgrade your eBook reader
Get $20 from Amazon to trade in your old device.

Friday Links Roundup, 7 March


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

The Interactive Sound of The Smiths

The Interactive Sound of The Smiths

A great example of a timeline-style story, with smooth animation on scrolling and clever 3D card-style transitions.

News and Links

Rupert Murdoch believes in print media
Murdoch remains a believer – arguably the last believer – in print.

PBS MediaShift helps bolster journalism education
MediaShift Launches EducationShift to Move Journalism Education Forward

The Starte of the News Media 2013
Analysis and statistics from the Pew Research Center, including this report on News Magazines: Embracing their Digital Future.

Does anybody read books the right way any more?
Are your digital reading habits affecting how rewarding your reading experience is?

Best headline about a paywall ever
We won’t spoil it for you.

Financial Times achieves critical mass in digital
Digital advertising and subscriptions, coupled with services, now account for 55 percent of all revenue.

Friday Links Roundup, 28 February


This week we look at…

News and Links

Why live video won’t save the news biz
Creating quality live television is expensive and much harder than it looks.

Indie Publisher: The New Publishing Entrepreneur
Most writers don’t want to be businesspeople. But if you self-publish, that’s what you become.

The sorry state of ebook search results
Why is ebook search so poor?

The plague of uniform rectangles with text overlays spreads further
News sites are starting to feel a little similar

Print versus digital become irrelevant the longer time goes by and the technology improves
Today, most publishers see digital not so much as a way to produce new products but as a way to save old ones.

2013 eBook Cover Design Winners
There’s still a great deal of innovation to explore in ebook covers, and I keep thinking that simplification is eventually going to win out.

New EpubTest Website Tracks Epub3 Support
Ever 120B42C8d01_pic0007[1]wonder just how many Epub3 features are supported by your favorite ebook platform? Thanks to a new website, you can now find out.

The Financial Times breaks the law of large numbers
Digital subscriptions soar, putting paid circulation at a record.

Friday Links Roundup, 21 February


This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Designs of the Week

Abbey Theatre Resource Pack: Sive

Abbey Theatre Resource Pack: Sive

A beautiful educational resource on John B. Keane’s 'Sive' designed using Woopie by Zero-G

News and Links

Should The New York Times become a platisher?
Can publishers like The Times become platishers? Should they? (also, yes, it’s a horrible name)

Cheap Words
Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books?

People-Powered Publishing Is Changing All the Rules
An increasing proportion of authors now actively choose to self-publish their work, giving them better control over their books’ rights, marketing, distribution and pricing.

Is Marc Andreessen right about what is holding the media industry back?
Venture investor Marc Andreessen talks about what has been holding the traditional media industry back from success in moving to digital

NY Times Now Boasts 760,000 Digital Subscribers
Revenue from digital-only subscribers jumped 36% in 2013

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) - Reviewed
A very thorough look at what it takes to get your title on KDP.

The Nook Touch has gone to live in the great big library in the sky
Barnes & Noble Discontinues the Nook Touch

Have you seen The Intercept yet?
It’s the new venture by Glenn Greenwald & Laura Poitras, published by Pierre Omidyar

"The Report" - fascinating breakdown of sales/prices/gross$ with lots of data on over 50,000 titles on Amazon

"The Report" - fascinating breakdown of sales/prices/gross$ with lots of data on over 50,000 titles on Amazon
It’s no great secret that the world of publishing is changing. What is a secret is how much.

Thinking about trying KDP Select?
For February, the KDP Select Global Fund amount is $1.2 million.

Friday Links Roundup, 14 February


Happy Valentine’s Day! This week we look at…

News and Links

Amazon Tests Kindle in Latin America
Amazon Inc. started selling its Kindle online in Brazil on Friday

The term “digital magazines” may sound kind of dumb, but First Look Media’s approach is not
First Look Media has launched The Intercept from Glenn Greenwald — the first of what it calls a family of “digital magazines.”

Are you a “digital magazine”, a “personal francise”, or something else altogether?
What you call yourself may matter.

The line between platform & publishers is blurring
Who wins and who loses?

March is Read an Ebook month
Your chance to check it out & see if it might be for you (though if you;re reading this you probably are!)

Simply re-packaging magazine content in digital formats will only get you so far
Dennis & Future looking beyond

When information glides by too frictionlessly, we’re liable to find it harder both to understand and to retain
Stop trying to make the web look ‘beautiful’ – I’ve forgotten it already

40 years of ebooks
An infographic

Some great apps for your smartphone
Wonderful experiences & excellent content

Why is Mark Andreessen optimistic about the news business & its evolution?
While Andreessen isn’t actually involved in the media industry directly, he had some interesting thoughts about it.

What Digital Magazines Do To Voluntarily Deter Readers

A while back, I did some research on what happens when you don’t think about accessibility for your magazine. The results speak for themselves: 

If your digital strategy involves a PDF-to-iPad conversion tool, there’s a very high chance that what you present to over 10% of your potential audience is a black box. 

These videos were created to show the frustrating experience of trying to use an accessibility tool like VoiceOver to read a digital magazine. It’s very painful. 

Respect Your Readers

Accessibility is about respect. Respecting readers means making covers that users can get past. It means making sure text size is alterable for people who might need to bump up the fonts on small screens. It is paying attention to contrast and colors so that content is easy-to-read for those with vision impairment. 

Respecting readers also means giving them options. If your audience includes busy commuters, offering an audio version is an enhancement that keeps them hands-free and safe on the road. A responsive HTML version provides the option to start reading something on a laptop in the office and read the rest of it on a phone on the way home. An eReader version means if someone wants to read on a Kindle with no distractions, it’s possible.

Ensuring a publication is accessible enables these scenarios and more, and it also helps to keep content future-proofed as readers upgrade devices and change operating systems. 

Will your publication be readable on Google Glass or will it stay a Flash-based, page-turn relic? 

Learn More: 

For more about how to get started with accessible publications and things to think in mind, check out this article I wrote for .net magazine (now Creative Bloq): 10 Great Ways to Make Your Content Portable and Accessible

Or sign up for Woopie to create beautiful documents and publications that work across any platform and device: Sign up for Woopie