When you begin down the path of developing the strategy for your publication’s mobile app, a critical component is to put a plan in place for how you will weave in the interactive elements. The interactivity placed in an app is often what keeps users engaged as they move through the app’s content; however, poor planning can lead to an over or under whelming experience for your audience. Use these tips to ensure a consistent and optimal user experience for your publication’s mobile app.

Interactive Planning for Your Mobile App

The philosophy for developing interactive content for your mobile app is to create an enhanced digital experience for the user. Considerations for interactive implementation should include these three factors:

  1. Are you allowing the user to control their experience? This is a best practice in planning your app’s interactivity. An example of this is allowing the user to tap to activate a video. Auto-playing videos, especially with sound, can come across as abrupt or alarming and may result in a negative user experience.
  2. Is the “pay-off” a positive experience? Example: having a user tap to reveal a group of 10 short factoids one time may be a better experience than asking the user to tap 10 times, or once per factoid, which can be laborious for such a small return on engagement.
  3. Is the interactive experience necessary? Ensure there is an added aesthetic or intellectual benefit—enticing the user’s curiosity or expanding the user’s knowledge—versus the content being presented in a more straightforward way.

Interactive Opportunities

There are countless options for interactive elements that you can work into your publication’s mobile app. The key is to understanding how your audience wishes to consume your content and figuring out how this content can be presented in an enhanced way through the interactive elements that you incorporate.

Here are some initial ideas for interactive opportunities to spark your creativity when planning out your mobile app:

1. Rework magazine feature art:

  • Artwork animation sequence
  • Text or tile reveal or animation sequence
  • Tap to activate content
  • Video clip

2. Combine existing elements and content in your publication’s features and departments:

  • Sidebars:
    • Can be presented as a scrolling text box
    • Can call your users to tap/swipe for content segments (for example: bullets, sequential, numbered content)
  • Graphs and charts:
    • Tap to reveal the full graphic or chart
    • Tap/swipe to reveal, highlight or expand upon isolated statistics or factoids
    • Tap to activate animation sequence to reveal data
  • Photos and images:
    • Tap to show enlarged image and present the caption
    • Tap to reveal statistics or factoids about the image
  • People photos:
    • Tap to reveal or expand upon a testimonial
    • Tap to reveal the person’s bio

3. Leverage digital-only options to enhance the content you provide in your mobile app that may not be possible in printed versions of the content.

  • Additional imagery can be added as swiping images or a photo gallery.
  • Incorporate videos by either embedding them or hosting them in the app.
  • Additional content such as digital-only sidebars or graphs and charts can be added as needed.
  • Include active links to online resources to drive users to your website, e-commerce pages or to contact your team through email.

Some of these options will require editorial planning to acquire and create additional content that is not planned for with your magazine’s print edition.

We encourage you to explore some of the magazine apps we have created for clients to see first hand how interactive elements can be leveraged to create an awesome user experience for your app.

Have additional questions on planning for you publication’s mobile app? Contact our team—we’re here to help!