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Friday Link Roundup, 4 July

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Happy Independence day! This week we look at…

News and Links

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer wants to up advertising revenue by using ‘digital magazines’
She … wants Yahoo to be a place where they curl up and spend some time, whether they are into haute couture, the latest gadgets or tabloid gossip.

What Does Your Brain Like Better: Paper or Ebooks?
New research shows “electronic readers promoted more deep reading and less active learning.”

Book revenues are up — but without ebooks, they’d be plummeting
More than 50% of readers said that they read e-books on tablets or e-readers.

The secrets to using large, expressive type on websites
An interesting guide to working with big type

10 Stats About Digital Magazine Publishing You Should Know
Some great stats and information directly from readers on their experiences with digital magazines so far

The New Media Boom Times
A rundown of the hot new digital publishers

Inspiration for article intro effects
Some interesting animation and scrolling effects for fullscreen image headings.

Friday Link Roundup, 6 June

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This week we look at…

News and Links

Internet Trends 2014 
Mary Meeker’s annual insight into digital trends.

What Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report Means For The Future Of Content
A look at what the above report says about content and publishing.

BeeLine Reader
An interesting little plugin that claims to help you read faster by adding gradients to text

A Once-in-a-Century Opportunity to Re-invent Publishing, and Books
A look at Amazon vs Hachette

Lily Mihalik on building the Los Angeles Times’ 101 Best Restaurants interactive
A great insight into what it takes to make an outstanding interactive

Vertically Centered Text in iBooks
How to mathematically centre text vertically in iBooks (rather than by cheating)

Samsung and Barnes & Noble are making a Nook together
The Galaxy Tab 4 Nook will be a 7 inch tablet focused on reading.

Friday Link Roundup, 23 May

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This week we look at…

News and Links

PMU Radio - MagCulture
Great podcast on magazines featuring some very smart people

Publishing Campaigns Grow On Kickstarter
In 2013, there were just under 6,000 publishing projects launched on Kickstarter, with $22.2 million pledge

The Dutch revolution in journalism: all newspapers behind one paydike
Here’s a smart idea from The Netherlands - uniting all major newspapers and magazines under one paywall

Net Neutrality: The View From Silicon Valley Start-Ups
Martha talks about the impact of the FCC’s proposals on startups

Far Beyond Snow Fall
"When we explore new ground in new mediums, we often find it necessary to swing the design and interaction pendulum to the baroque side of the scale."

Using Small Caps and Text Figures on the Web
Some typography tips - it’s all about sweating the details

Mail Online’s soaring revenues offset publisher’s print ad decline
Love it or hate it, the Mail Online is killing it

Someone Fix This Sh*t
Facebook product director Mike Hudack’s rant about modern media sparks a debate

Tablets proliferate in nation’s classrooms, and take a swipe at the status quo
How new technology can help us rethink schools

This ‘Jaws’ book cover is really clever
Simple, iconic covers like this make great ebook covers too.

NYT Innovation report reactions:

How The New York Times lost the internet, and how it plans to win it back
Vox summarises the NYT innovation report

For the Times’ innovation report to stick, its journalists need to be on board
Some analysis on the infamous leaked NYT report

What Publishers Can Learn From the New York Times’s Digital Transition
"Reorganize around digital-first production. The caveat — as well as the key — here is ‘production,’ not ‘product.’"

Friday Link Roundup, 16 May

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This week we look at…

News and Links

The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age
This leaked document shows the NYT attempting to face up to its problems when competing in a digital age

Who’s Winning the Tablet Magazine Wars?
You might be surprised at this list of the most popular tablet magazines.

The solutions to all our problems may be buried in PDFs that nobody reads
What if there’s a great idea buried in a hard-to-access format?

Collaborating on the News from Ukraine
A group of six news organizations and digital-media outlets have created a somewhat unusual collective effort aimed at reporting breaking news about Ukraine.

How different are books digitally?
"We will need to find new ways to market ebooks and digital reading to existing print readers in the coming years"

10 Marketing Automation Hacks for Subscription Sites
Some useful automated marketing tips

Friday Link Roundup, 2 May

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This week we look at…

Beautiful Editorial Design of the Week

The slumps that shaped modern finance

The slumps that shaped modern finance

Filled with excellent animations, timelines and transitions.

News and Links

Dashes in Web Typography
Don’t know your em dash ( — ) from your hyphen‐minus? ( - ) Find them here and then learn how to use them

Community curation, by Joe Wikert
An interesting concept for a paid content concierge

Publishers are Signing up with eBook Subscription Services in Droves
Services like Oyster, Epic and Scribd are building their catalogues fast.

What’s New in Digital and Social Media Research
Great roundup of all the recent research out there

The e-book in front is a book
"If the e-book remains just a cheaper facsimile of print books, it will suffer the same fate."

This Coffee Mug’s E-ink Display Is Powered By Hot Coffee
It’s a smart mug (for when you’re not feeling so smart,right before your morning coffee!)

Why I’m Bullish on the News
Marc Andreessen on the future of news

How 10 news organizations look at issues of online engagement
News orgs talk about improving interaction, engagement, and personalisation.

Why Newsstand needs to go away
Why Newsstand has become a second-class folder.

Q&A: Craig Mod on making writing more mobile-friendly and where digital publishing is headed
Great interview with the inspirational Craig Mod

Thomas Piketty doesn’t hate capitalism
Nice experiment from Vox where you can toggle between the interview and the story

Beautiful Images for your Publication

Where to find fantastic photos on a budget

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Image Credit: Nicola Perantoni

You’ve written some incredible, compelling content, but you feel that it all may be a bit … dry? Adding imagery to your publication can be a great way to:

  1. Tell your story in shorthand
  2. Convey a mood or tone
  3. Engage and delight your readers
  4. Create a sense of structure
  5. Provide an interesting background for text and charts

There’s lots of ways you can acquire great images – from hiring a professional photographer or illustrator (the best way to get exactly the images you need) to purchasing stock artwork.

However, if you’re on a small budget then there’s plenty of places where you can get free images, either with no strings attached or with requirements for credits or link-backs.

Caveat: Licensing

Always back sure you read the small print when using imagery you acquire from the web. Check the licensing to make sure you meet all the requirements for using that image - whether it be adding a credit link, or only using the image for non-commercial purposes. Don’t use images without permission – it will only bring you negative publicity and legal action.

Free images from stock sites

E.g. iStockphoto http://www.istockphoto.com/

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Some stock photography sites give away free stock images. You don’t get to pick and choose, but over time you could build up a nice library.

Embedding Images

E.g. IMGEmbed http://imgembed.com/ & Getty Images Embed http://www.gettyimages.ie/creative/frontdoor/embed
A relatively new idea, embeddable images are images you add to your publication the same way you’ve add a YouTube video, by pasting in an embed code. There’s not much room to play around with them and they’re online only, but they can be useful for adding to a story.

Don’t forget to check the licence – for example the above image can’t be used for commercial purposes.

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr http://www.flickr.com/ has lots of great images that are free to use, under a Creative Commons licence.

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Image credit: iAudioguide

You’ll find the option under advanced search. Be sure to credit the creator accordingly.

Freeimages (formerly Stock Exchange)

Freeimages http://www.freeimages.com/ has a massive library of images, of varying quality. There’s several different licences in use, for example contacting the creator first, or non-commercial only, so be sure to check before you use them.

Unsplash

Every 10 days, Unsplash http://unsplash.com/ release 10 beautiful images that are free to use.

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Image credit: Vee-O

Browse through the archives for some amazing shots. (Though some of the photos have become so popular they are almost clichéd!)

Morguefile

Morguefile http://www.morguefile.com/ has a huge number of images that are free to use anywhere, but the quality may vary.

Have you any useful sources to add to the list? Let us know @makewoopie

Friday Links Roundup, 11 April

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Video

Fallback

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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.)

Tip

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

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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

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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)

Tips

  • 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