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Nobles Magazine: An iPad Case Study

By | June 7, 2013

One of the primary goals of alumni publications is to keep their community engaged with their school. With approximately 30 million tablet devices in the U.S. alone; 20 billion APPs downloaded in 2012; and over 300 magazines in the Apple Store publishing on a tablet device needs to be part of the publication strategy for any alumni communication. Like many of our clients, Noble and Greenough School, is always looking to strike the balance of print and digital, most recently launching their own iPad edition of Nobles magazine.

Case Study
With an average of 1,412 wireless devices connected to 800 community members, digital is an integral part of the school’s culture. To take advantage of the ubiquity of mobile devices Noble and Greenough has developed: eight blogs, Nobles Minute video series, Photo of the Day, and multiple podcasts and photo galleries. Nobles magazine was clearly positioned for a digital publication that would take advantage of this rich content and connected audience.

Process
In the Fall of 2012 we redesigned the print version of Nobles. The redesign represents the culture of the school visually through vibrant photography, modern typography, and elegant use of white space. A typical issue of the magazine is 72 pages and could easily be longer. After the Fall issue was launched the next phase was to create the iPad edition. While there are multiple options for tablet publication including Apple iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook, and Android, based on the Noble’s audience profile the iPad was the best fit.

Many alumni publications are opting to produce an interactive PDF or a flipbook but the final solution is simply a translation of a printed page on a screen. For Nobles we created a tablet-only design to take advantage of the digital content while working within the limitations of the tablet screen. Where the print has a three column format the tablet design is one column for ease of reading. Readers can view the pages in a vertical or horizontal orientation taking advantage of the flexibility of the device.

Not only is the interactive experience enhanced but the tablet allows for Nobles to deliver substantially more content to their audience. Where the print version may have had one photo the tablet version has a slide show or video, there are links to Amazon to purchase community authored books, direct email links for alumni, and one of my favorite items–an interactive Nobles by the Numbers allowing readers to test their knowledge of Nobles. Other examples in the Spring 2013 issue include audio of faculty discussing their work in the faculty show, authors reading from their books, the school’s mascot traveling the world showcasing the student’s experiences and service work, and video clips from the documentary feature.

The additional tablet-only content and interactivity was created using Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite. The easiest part of the process being the software, the more challenging part being actual launch in the Apple store.

At the moment Nobles appears to be the only independent school magazine available on the APP store. With alumni audiences becoming increasingly digitally savvy we imagine many other schools will be soon to follow.

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