Netly: The Third Screen

Going horizontal

Posted on: September 16, 2010


I’ve been guest editing the iPad version of Sports Illustrated for the past couple of weeks, which is giving me a great opportunity to experiment with stuff. The issue that came out Wednesday is a case in point: For the first time, we’re offering the SIpad Edition in landscape (horizontal) mode only. If a reader flips it into portrait (or vertical) mode, he’ll get a message telling him the page is only offered in a horizontal layout.

Why are we doing this?

A number of reasons. We’ve been doing iPad versions of our magazines here at Time Inc since the device launched on April 3. While I was excited about the possibilities of offering our magazines in both views—ideally, a reader could have two very different experiences, depending on how the pages were viewed—I’ve come to believe that, for now, and for photo-driven magazines like SI, the horizontal view is the optimal experience. In fact, by concentrating on that one view, we’ve already been able to innovate: We’ve created a new way to view extraordinary photos that we call the “Super Looooong View.”

Check out the picture of Novak Djokovic serving in the U.S. Open if you want to see the SLV in action. The photo, a gorgeous, full horizontal, is uninterrupted by page breaks (as it would be if it were a spread in a paper magazine) and it scrolls down for at least three screens. It starts high up, in the stands, and ends at Novak’s feet—it’s a photograph with a “reveal.” It’s such a cool effect—akin to a centerfold, or poster view. Needless to say, we can create SLVs that scroll horizontally as well. So far, we’ve only done this across two pages, but the possibilities are endless.

Other reasons we like the horizontal-only approach for this magazine: The download is about 30% smaller. I just downloaded SI at work and it took less than a minute. While users haven’t been complaining that much about long download times, many magazines have approached, and even exceeded, 500 megabytes in size. But who wants to store media that big on a 16-gigabyte hard drive?

And last, but not least, doing away with the vertical view allows us to economize on resources. The brunt of the iPad issue falls on the shoulders of our designers—they’re the folks who, in one magazine after another here at Time Inc and elsewhere, are the people who suddenly added an extra day to their already busy weeks. (They’re also the ones, by the way, who continue to be most excited about the endless possibilities of designing in this medium.) This reduces their work load by a third, minimally.

Why not add more designers? Well, if we were able to build a real business, with subscriptions that offered our iPad versions to readers at a reasonable price, that would be a no brainer. But we can’t yet, so the best approach for us is to experiment with the format, marshal our (human) resources and start building products on other platforms that will allow us to scale up as our business grows.

In the meantime, if readers tell us they don’t like this, we can always go back to two views—that’s the beauty of the current, experimental period in new media. There are no fatal mistakes.

35 Responses to "Going horizontal"

[...] who has become Time Inc.’s digital/iPad guru, explains the publisher’s thinking on his personal blog: They think it’s a better way to look at big pictures, and it makes for a smaller download. [...]

[...] mode. (There’s nothing wrong with your iPad — just turn it horizontally.)”On a blog, TIME’s Josh Quittner discussed the changes. He said this version allows the download to be [...]

[...] a blog, TIME’s Josh Quittner discussed the changes. He said this version allows the download to be [...]

[...] From Josh Quittner’s blog – guest editor of SI “[SI is]…doing away with the vertical view allows us to economize on resources. The brunt of the iPad issue falls on the shoulders of our designers—they’re the folks who, in one magazine after another here at Time Inc and elsewhere, are the people who suddenly added an extra day to their already busy weeks. (They’re also the ones, by the way, who continue to be most excited about the endless possibilities of designing in this medium.) This reduces their work load by a third, minimally.” [...]

[...] position, nothing happens. Just an error message. That’s because Sports Illustrated is too poor to offer it in anything but the landscape [...]

[...] app can only be read in landscape position. You know why? Because they’re too poor to hire the extra graphic design people, because they can’t rely on subscribers for funds. Why not add more designers? Well, if we [...]

[...] Going horizontal « Netly: The Third Screen [...]

[...] app can only be read in landscape position. You know why? Because they’re too poor to hire the extra graphic design people, because they can’t rely on subscribers for funds. Why not add more designers? Well, if we [...]

I don’t know if this doubles up resources and lead to a lager download, but what if the portrait view offered an interactive slideshow of the issues’ photos? Perhaps you can reuse the existing images from the horizontal layout with a bit of code to resize/reposition as needed? That way there’s no need for labor-intensive page layout redesign and you still offer readers something in the other orientation,

Interesting idea. I’m thinking it should be more of a table of contents view. Jump into other articles, etc.

You could do a bit of banner photos/video as well, space permitting.

I don’t know if this doubles up resources and leads to a larger download, but what if the portrait view offered an interactive slideshow of the issues’ photos? Perhaps you can even reuse the existing images from the horizontal layout with a bit of code to resize/reposition as needed? That way there’s no need for labor-intensive page layout redesign and you still offer readers something in the other orientation,

lol
Just zoom in the page and let the user scroll a bit like the browser does on any website. These do not take up 500Mb btw.

And funny that you’ve reinvented the scrollbar and call it super long view.

This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.

Display 1 page in vertical mode, and 2 pages of the magazine in horizontal. Let the OS handle re-orientation, and let the user zoom in/out with multi-touch.

You’re the one who is ridiculous. If you took a minute to look at magazines on the iPad you would realize that these designers are not simply reproducing the print to digital. They are utilizing the new medium in completely new ways and laying out the content in a new way. The method you are talking about would be ridiculous. First of all, do you have any idea how much smaller one half of the iPad screen is when compared to the actual printed page? Get a clue and really take a minute to look at what they’re talking about here.

Actually I have. No one is interested in a “multimedia cdrom” app on their iPad. Why do you think Wired magazine and Popular Science got slammed.

I’ve already read magazines such as Saveur and National Geographic on the iPad. They don’t seem to have any problems showing off beautiful layouts vertically and horizontally.

People can scroll and zoom quickly and efficiently. Or maybe you don’t understand that.

You complain “how small half an iPad screen is” – which is EXACTLY what SI is forcing users to read in.

If you want to see a working solution, check out what Zinio is doing. Quality stuff there (single page in portrait, spread in landscape, both with links to read the text-only versions)

Yep, the Zino implementation is a great way to port print mags to an analogous experience on the iPad.

I haven’t seen SI’s own app yet, but if they’re looking to move beyond emulating regular magazines something new may be called for.

That’s because Sports Illustrated is too poor to offer it in anything but the landscape

[...] und horizontal dargestellt werden können. Eine Zeitschrift hat das jetzt aufgegeben und macht nur noch Querformat (via Daring [...]

[...] drie maanden komt men bij monde van Josh Quittner tot de volgende conclusie: I’ve come to believe that, for now, and for photo-driven magazines [...]

I’m fortunate enough to be a designer working in this exciting field, to have access to the tools to experiment with the format is a privilege. Producing true interactive layouts in both landscape and portrait modes is incredibly labour intensive.
I don’t think the SI solution of offering landscape only is the best way to do things, but given the restrictions of deadlines and resources I can understand why they have gone down this route. New ideas and solutions are appearing every time a digital magazine hits the App Store and as the best become common practice these title will really shine.

And why bother with just porting flat print PDFs to the iPad? It’s like drinking decaf coffee or non-alcoholic beer – what’s the point?

[...] of the SI iPad edition, Josh Quittner (Time Magazine), comments on this change in his personal blog. Quittner says that he believes the optimal viewing experience for photo-driven magazines, like SI, [...]

[...] of the SI iPad edition, Josh Quittner (Time Magazine), comments on this change in his personal blog. Quittner says that he believes the optimal viewing experience for photo-driven magazines, like SI, [...]

[...] of the SI iPad edition, Josh Quittner (Time Magazine), comments on this change in his personal blog. Quittner says that he believes the optimal viewing experience for photo-driven magazines, like SI, [...]

[...] of the SI iPad edition, Josh Quittner (Time Magazine), comments on this change in his personal blog. Quittner says that he believes the optimal viewing experience for photo-driven magazines, like SI, [...]

[...] of the SI iPad edition, Josh Quittner (Time Magazine), comments on this change in his personal blog. Quittner says that he believes the optimal viewing experience for photo-driven magazines, like SI, [...]

More importantly to print subscribers, any idea when SI is going to adopt the People model of making the app free to print subscribers? Based on Time Publishing comments, I would have thought it would have happened by now.

[...] of the SI iPad edition, Josh Quittner (Time Magazine), comments on this change in his personal blog. Quittner says that he believes the optimal viewing experience for photo-driven magazines, like SI, [...]

[...] of the SI iPad edition, Josh Quittner (Time Magazine), comments on this change in his personal blog. Quittner says that he believes the optimal viewing experience for photo-driven magazines, like SI, [...]

[...] ein paar Tagen hieß es nun: Portrait-Modus ade. Dazu Josh Quittner, Gast-Editor für die iPad-Version der Sports Illustrated: For the first [...]

[...] hard work. Getting back to Sports Illustrated, Josh Quittner (guest editor of the iPad edition), recently wrote about the decision to go “horizontal only” with SI for iPad: “…doing away with the vertical view allows us to economize on resources. The brunt of the [...]

Apple AFAIR requires all apps to operate in both orientations (with an exemption for games). At least i was told that when we inquired about the feasability of a horizontal only newspaper app at the beginning of our development cycle.

Did you redeclare yourself to a magazine, did you get an exemption or do you consider the note as fulfillment of the requirement?

PS.: The reasons for our inquiry were purely economical. It’s difficult to add a day to a one day production cycle

[...] the time, Time Inc. editor Josh Quittner said the publisher was doing so [...]

[...] Josh Quittner, an editor with Time magazine, revealed that the change was also done as a cost-cutting measure. Because designers must only create the magazine in one format, it cuts their work by at least a [...]

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