By Bin DAI
The 49th edition of Mobile Monday in Beijing (*), which took place on April 23rd, was a perfect opportunity for guest speakers pioneering in different domains of mobile publishing in China to come and address this topic. Here are some inspiring ideas and information I retrieved from the speakers.
1. Apple Newsstand market analysis by App Annie
First we let market and data talk – a presentation from Bertrand Schmitt, CEO of App Annie.
App Annie is one of the world’s major mobile app statistic analysis providers. Their SDK are used in more than 100,000 app world wide by 13,000+ publishers. Their ranking database is tracking 850,000 apps on iOS, Mac (to be released soon) and Google Play. In the presentation, Bertrand Schmitt shared his analysis regarding the new Newsstand for iPhone and iPad. Interesting observations included :
- Global downloads is increasing slowly (7% since Oct 2011), while global revenue is increasing dramatically (282% since Oct 2011);
- China is in the world’s top 2 in terms of downloads, but out of the top 10 in terms of revenue;
- The highest revenue per download comes from Norway with $0.75/download;
- Despite less units, iPad downloads are roughly 20% higher than iPhone downloads, and revenue is 3 times bigger : this shows that consumers are much more keen to download and pay on iPad, a much better device for reading;
2. E-Book publishing for mobile reading by TangCha
TangCha is the pioneer of licensed electronic book publisher on iOS devices in China. So far they have published 12 books in Apple App Store, including the famous biography of Steve Jobs (Simplified Chinese version). Its founder Lawrence Li shared his opinion about electronic reading.
Typography is a major focus in TangCha’s effort to increase the mobile reading experience. Chinese typography in the mobile digital world is seriously underdeveloped, even comparing to Japanese typography. TangCha is experimenting new fonts with typography designer and applying new ways of page setting to make reading a more enjoyable and natural experience on mobile devices.
An example of TangCha’s effort on Chinese Typology:
TangCha is also improving Chinese reading experience with page layout and design. Here is an example of TangCha’s in-page notes:
Social Reading is another topic that TangCha is considering for future attempts. Reading itself is a personal experience; social elements can improve reading activities and effects. Reading club is an example of how group reading can be interesting to people. This experience can also be easily digitized by sharing reading progress and reading notes while users use smart devices for their reading.
In terms of operation, TangCha is moving from releasing books as an independent app to providing an integrated book shelf. Several days after the event, TangCha released its own book store APP, ByteClub.
3. Digital magazine design insights from Pr. Fei Jun, Central Academy of Fine Arts of China
Pr. Fei Jun has been working with traditional media publishers to help them release iPad versions of their magazines.
Traditional media publishers face major challenges moving their contents from paper-based magazines to smart mobile devices. It’s definitely not as easy as just generating a PDF version of the magazine and copying it to the iPad. To create a pleasant digital reading experience, digital designers take into account the various possibilities that smart devices provide to build the digital version of magazines. Pr. Fei Jun shared some principles that he is applying in his daily work with his team.
Multimedia features are to be used with caution
Pr. Fei always makes sure not to turn a digital magazine into a “video App”. Multimedia contents are used only if necessary and if they are in line with the whole page, respecting the entire composition.
Page layout is to be re-designed
Pages need to be re-designed. Different layers can be added to a page which can be shown and hidden according to user’s different actions.
Example of paper-based layout vs. digital layout
Being interactive, a digital magazine can support complicated logical reasoning. For example, a quiz is very suitable to be presented in a digital magazine.
Digital reading with a paper-reading feel
People would miss the special feeling that paper could bring when reading some special contents like ancient literature. A good design can bring this feeling on the iPad. Below is an example of digitalizing an ancient Chinese work “Shanghaijing” :
* Mobile Monday is a global open community of mobile industry visionaries, developers and influential individuals, with local events and chapters in about 100 cities. Orange Labs Beijing is the co-founder of Mobile Monday Beijing, and one of the key players of it together with influential companies and tech blogs.