Welcome to the first of what will be regular updates on this page regarding the production and conceptualisation of Grab It Magazine – The Game Discovery App. I’ve got lots of insights to share with you over the coming days and weeks, but can also discuss direct questions or areas of interest if you want to shoot me an email about a particular topic. Today, I thought I would tackle the subject of download size.
There are two ways you can approach the design of these digital magazines; either the content is in the mag, or it is streaming from the Net. Naturally if you stream sizeable things like soundtracks and videos from the Net, then you remove the need to hold the weight (in MB) of those elements in your download size. A smaller download size is obviously a big benefit to a portable distribution channel and people who want to spontaneously download the mag while on the go, but the sacrifice is in the user experience. If you’re offline, or have a weak Net connection, the streaming of content is awkward or non-existent.
I felt that having dynamic video and music to help set the atmosphere and tell the story of the games in Grab It was such an important part of making the magazine feel digital, that I decided to embed everything locally – hence the sizeable download size. This did allow us to make these elements organic to the design – so when you flip to a review the entire screen is a video with the content overlayed on top, and in a feature the soundtrack to the game just plays beautifully and seamlessly in the background. If we were streaming this content, with our design you’d arrive at a page and just get this ugly, chuggy YouTube background with ads and everything. Or you'd get just a "no internet" warning if you were offline.
It’s a risky move and we’ve optimised the videos and images as much as we can. We’ll obviously be listening to reader feedback to see where we have to draw the line on content vs. download size, but hopefully the benefits of this design jump the MB hurdle.
Issue 1 is available now and I would by honoured if you'd check it out. Grab it here.
Other Publisher Diary Entries:
- Building a Games Magazine that's Organic to the Format