IUPUI Magazine on iPad and the Web
IUPUI Office of External Affairs
IUPUI Magazine features campus news and stories about students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are making a positive impact on the world. While the print version reaches nearly 150,000 alumni, it was important to make the magazine more accessible to an increasingly digital audience and offer more video and audio content. The new iPad version of the magazine enables users to access content on the go. Meanwhile, a redesigned magazine website offers a more consistent reader experience between new and archived issues, while making it easier for magazine staff to share late-breaking content whenever it becomes available.
When IUPUI Magazine debuted in 1999, no one could have predicted just how drastically technology would change the way we read and process information. While studies indicate the majority of IUPUI alumni still prefer a printed magazine, the audience for digital publications is increasing across the entire IU community. IU Communications worked to find a solution that offered a strong sense of continuity with the print publication but took advantage of the new kinds of content that can be supported on a digital platform.
Our interaction designers also spent a lot of time with past issues of the magazine. This helped them decide upon a structure for the website that would still be flexible enough to accommodate a constantly evolving publication.
The preparation of the fall issue coincided with big changes within our organization – namely, the merger of the IUPUI marketing team with IU Communications. Suddenly, the magazine’s creative team had many more technological resources at its disposal, but relatively little time to take advantage of them before the next issue was published. As a result, the development timeline for the new website was less than a month.
IUPUI had published its magazine on the web since 2006. However, its practice had been to create a new microsite for every issue. The team realized it could save money and time by developing a standard template for the web publication – but first, the interaction designers had to develop that template. It had to be intuitive, yet flexible enough to accommodate content from previous issues.
Meanwhile, designing the iPad version of the magazine had its own challenges. Because users could choose either horizontal or vertical presentation, each spread had to be designed twice to ensure it would be readable from both orientations. Video production and slideshows, panoramic shots, and sound files and sizes also presented their own unique design issues.
We created a single multidisciplinary team including print designers, interactive designers, writers, editors, and developers to work simultaneously on the print, iPad, and web versions of the magazine. By working together, they were able to eliminate a lot of redundancy in the design process. They also shared elements that could be reused on other platforms.
The web version of the IUPUI Magazine launched on time and on budget in Fall 2011. Compared to previous issues, production of the web version of this issue cost nearly 20 percent less. With a template that can be reused, future issues are expected to be even less expensive.
The iPad version of the IUPUI Magazine has also been a success. Though readers are only just beginning to choose this medium, downloads of the fall 2011 issue were more than double the number for the spring 2011 issue.
While the majority of readers still prefer the print version, the addition of this title to IU’s digital publications portfolio further demonstrates the university’s reputation as a technology leader.
Development of the iPad and website magazines took approximately two months. Total budget for iPad development was $11,570. Development of the magazine website cost $8,125.