fredag den 31. oktober 2014

Pitch for a Supermarket's web magazine

The pitch meeting was held yesterday with the client, and all in all it went really well. Their own digital project manager arrived a few minutes after I started, and about 3/4 of the way through she started challenging the whole basis for the web magazine with S.E.O. questions and statistics that were pretty much irrelevant.

She said that she wanted the digital magazine to be embedded within not only their own CMS (which is very likely an older version of Umbraco than we use, and will present an uphill development battle and low usability for the backend users) but also embedded within their own web site. I have to challenge this with every fiber of my professional opinion. 

Firstly, the addition of the corporate branded top navigation that eats up 30% of the screen real-estate  on an iPad would conflict with the magazine own brand and identity. This ruins the concept of packaging each issue with it's own front cover. Secondly, it would add far too many layers of navigation and require the user to make a harder decision each time they want to move around the magazine. It would basically confuse and distract from the reading environment I have created. And ther is *no way* their web site's navigation can replace the magazine's, which is optimised for the medium itself.

She then suggested that we remove the corporate navigation on tablets and iPhones, as their current statistics show these are used more during the evening hours where people tend to read online. Then she said "nobody reads magazines on a desktop or laptop".

I find their current statistics are highly useless when applied to a medium that does not exist yet. The reason there are no good statistics for web magazines being enjoyed on laptops and desktops, is because so few online publishers have managed to grasp what a distraction-free, immersive and comfortable reading environment on a web site should be like.

I truly believe that if these factors are in place, we will have success. Readers will read:

  • Content is relevant for the reader. Don't publish just because you can. 
  • Content is presented in a way that is visually and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Content and navigation is usability-centric to the reading experience.
  • Reading environment should be as distraction-free as possible
I also believe that adding the corporate navigation to the desktop/laptop version sets that version up for failure, and will simply enforce the stigma that nobody wants to read magazines on a computer.

I agree there is a relevant concern that having the site on a separate CMS will mean that SEO will be divided between the Supermarket's corporate webshop and the customer magazine, but since they do not have the same content, communicate differently, and the magazine directs traffic to the web shop, there is little to lose and much to gain. Development of a proper SEO strategy will ensure that the web magazine will increase traffic and sales, as it can deliver content that is not available on their corporate site, content that appeals to people who are looking for recipes and articles rather than groceries.

Another thing that needs to be tackled is what happens when a reader decides to purchase the ingredients listed in one of the recipes, or one of the single items advertised between paragraphs in the articles. I would personally like to keep the reader in the magazine environment, so maybe we need to add a shopping basket to the magazine interphase somehow, rather than having them leave the magazine to make a purchase. However the very option to make a purchase, a quick conversion,  is a vast improvement over the printed version.

So it seems today I have to prepare these arguments in writing and present them to the decision maker, in the hope that logic and instinct will win.

tirsdag den 23. september 2014

What am I working on right now?

Well there's a whole load of stuff. Really worth mentioning is a web magazine for the Danish supermarket chain 'Irma' who has a free in-store magazine called "Krydderiet" which is soon to double its release frequency and an online version will allow tag-based searching in recipes across previous releases.

Also in the works is an "interactive courtroom" for the Danish Royal Court, allowing anyone who has a court date to farmiliarize themselves with the layout,  attendees and their roles in a trial.  

I can't show any of this off yet, as it's still in development and contracts have yet to be signed.

fredag den 29. august 2014

New icons and favicons for Sundhed and Smagogbehag

Added 2 new item to the Icons & UI section of my site. These are favicons and iOS bookmark icons I designed for the Danish health magazine Magasinet Sundhed and the Danish food magazine Smagogbehag. 

fredag den 22. august 2014

New web design for Bank Invest's web magazine "Ajour"

Just completed my mock-up for a web magazine called "Ajour" published by Bank Invest. Ajour is release every 6 months and contains investor articles, banking trends and financial reports. Not my subject really, but good design and usability is, and this has some great elements and will also make use of great technologies. It's responsive and employs AM-Charts for responsive real-time rendered graphs.  Go check it out on my Web Design/Datagraf page.

tirsdag den 12. august 2014

Datagraf and DG Media sold to Aller Publishing

In the middle of summer vacation I got a call from a colleague telling me that our company has been sold to Aller Publishing (Aller media). For the foreseeable future this won't affect my job, but it's a big deal all the same.  Article is in Danish, sorry 'bout that... 

mandag den 14. juli 2014

Pitch and miss for Nordzucker AG

Uploaded the video I made as part of a design pitch Datagraf and TypoConsult presented for the German sugar factory Nordzucker AG. We tried to go for a minimalist, scalable responsive web magazine to present their annual Sustainability report. Unfortunately we weren't practical to wok with as a matter of geographic location, so the job went to a German company. Personally I also think we were too ahead of our time with this. Many corporate heads can't grasp the simplicity of a web site that looks and feels like an app. Go check it out on the Web Design/Datagraf page.

fredag den 6. juni 2014

Uploaded web designs I made for the Danish food magazine SmagOgBehag on the web design/Datagraf page. SmagOgBehag's editors and magazine designers are in the same office as me at Datagraf Copenhagen, so we collaborated on a new website for the magazine that tries to stay true to the printed magazine's typography and colors. There were a few personal challenges for me, especially having to sacrifice aesthetics for banner ads and having no budget for dictating the responsive behavior of the site. In addition, there are some confusing content blocks on the sub-pages that were dictated by the magazine's owners. Still, the Photoshop design looks pretty good, hope the implementation goes OK.