When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, few were surprised by its function as an e-reader. It was a poorly kept secret that Apple had engaged the publishing industry to envision their content on its “advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device”. I’m sure most of us imagined our favourite magazines on the tablet with the kind of interactivity we already get on web sites – a great improvement in user experience. Some publications may not see much beyond their existing offering translated to a digital format. The leaders will produce game-changing experiences.
Which leads me to the Sports Illustrated tablet demo. This is revolutionary. The SI team has done a stellar job putting this together. Here’s the play-by-play:
- The action starts on the front cover.
- Table of contents can be customized to reader preferences
- Flip page view is similar to traditional magazine browsing
- Text view puts images at the bottom of the screen as thumbnails
- An image on a page could be a video or collection of photos
- Photo collections in an article can be reviewed as a thumbnail grid
- A circle gesture on the screen brings up a tool for sharing content
- Reader can customize content access to personal preferences (eg. sport or team)
- Advertising with rich content
It’s going to be fascinating to watch this medium develop. The traditional publishers have been handed a lifeline. If they deliver, they might reestablish themselves as the best sources of journalism and visual experiences. Instead of just treading water.