Ideas from Innovative Digital Publishers

Today we have an inspirational roundup for you as we take a look at some of the cool things the most forward-thinking digital publications are doing online now.


Image focus as you scroll down :: Sidetracked Magazine

This is one of those tiny details you might not even notice if you’re reading in a hurry, but its subtlety makes it an even more thoughtful touch. With a lot of fixed background images, as you scroll you simply see less and less of the top as you scroll down. What Sidetracked did is to place a focus on the most interesting part of the image (the bicyclists) such that as you scroll, both the top and bottom of the image contract to leave the bicyclists there as long as possible.


Screenshot of article from Sidetracked Magazine with a full-sized header imageScreen Shot 2015-04-09 at 18.05.19Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 18.05.28

Interactive animations :: QUEST from KQED Science

Creating educational digital books today often means considering interaction and engagement. KQED created interactive animations for their online books to help readers and students understand how the Berkeley Darfur Stove is more efficient than a regular, three-stone fire.

Screenshot of KQED's Berkely Darfur stove interactive animation

Background videos in the Table of Contents :: Government of Maharashtra

The Directorate of Information Technology for the Government of Maharashtra put together a fantastic digital version of their report on the State of e-Governance. While the table of contents page can often be the least interesting part of the publication, they chose to use that as the document’s opening and made it more interesting with a background video and a lovely, low-key soundtrack.

Screenshot from the gov't of Maharashtra's interactive multimedia report on e-Governance


Receive a free, great story every week :: Electric Literature

A great way to keep you top-of-mind for your readers is by sending them things you know they’ll be interested in. If your audience is readers, a free story every week is a wonderful idea to build an email list as well as remind them to come back for more.

Screenshot of Electric Literature's signup form for free weekly stories

Fade-out story previews :: Scratch

With paid content, many publishers struggle with things like pay wall, pay wall + x number of free articles per month, share-to-read, and the numerous other ideas out there to monetize your publication. Scratch has done a nice job of fading out the article’s text so that articles can easily be shared, but subscribers get the real value, without it being a painful experience as a visiting reader.

Screenshot of Scratch magazine showing faded out article text

Exclusive articles available to prime subscribers :: Nautilus

Nautilus makes many of their articles available free online and charges instead for the convenience of the tablet and eBook editions. In addition, they offer a Prime level subscription which includes the tablet and eBook issues as well as bonus articles not available otherwise as well as occasional surprises.

Screenshot of Nautilus magazine showing exclusive articles available for Prime members


Save to read later :: Aeon

Aeon magazine not only provides all of their stories for free, they also encourage readers to download and save them to read later. Offered options include Readability, Instapaper, Pocket and Kindle.

Screenshot of article from Aeon magazine showing read later options

Give comments (responses) their own page :: Medium

Comments can be the best or worst part about an article, and online readers are often warned to stay away from them for the sake of their own sanity.

Screenshot of Medium creating separate response pages for article comments

Listing size of downloadable ePub files :: Nautilus

As shown in the Nautilus image above, the ePub file descriptions indicate how large the file downloads are. This can be really helpful for readers who might not have wifi available at the time or who might be strapped for space on their device. Knowing the file download size also gives you a better understanding of why a file download is taking a bit longer, or whether you’ll be able to get it downloaded before your bus arrives.

Select article by number of words :: Aeon

Another great example by Aeon is their article layout within their categories. Similar to Medium’s now familiar “4 min read” annotations attached to articles there, Aeon lists the number of words in the article under the author’s name (for films, it similarly lists number of minutes in the video). This can help when selecting an article, when you know you either have a lot or a little time.

Screenshot from Aeon magazine showing listing of articles including their number of words

Seen any great examples of innovation in digital publishing lately? Let us know!

If you have some interesting ideas you’d like to talk about for your own publication, get in touch. Woopie is a powerful platform and we’ve helped publishers like KQED, the Government of Maharashtra, and many others to create innovative and forward-thinking content!