5 Key Principles of Design to Enhance Your Digital Publication
Creating a digital customer magazine can be an intimidating process. While the limitless canvas of the digital world can be exciting, the idea of creating layers upon layers of interactivity can make all this creative freedom feel overwhelming. Whether you are an experienced veteran or a rookie, below are 5 key principles that will help ease your design process and make your digital customer magazines “pop!”
1. Organize Your Content Properly
Think about your content and how you want readers to experience navigating through it. On the web, the act of scrolling comes naturally to readers. As they keep reading an article or looking through images, they can easily continue to scroll down to view more content. This allows you, the creator, to embrace on the opportunity of adding more content per page, resulting in fewer pages over all. See the example from St. Mary’s Lynn magazine below. Instead of separating months and adding additional pages, they successfully grouped all the relevant content together and created a simple and engaging reading experience. (click on image to view more)
2. Laying Out Your Content
As you think about organizing your content, it’s important to remember to visually place everything in a meaningful way that doesn’t overwhelm your reader. Keep a consistent amount of space between different image and text assets so that sections within content can be easily deciphered.
Interview magazine is a great example of this concept. (1) They mix fonts, font sizes, image sizes and image positioning to create a visually stunning opening page. They key is recognizing when to use white space to visually differentiate between content and offset the complexity created by mixed fonts and image sizes. With the boundaryless canvas of the web, it is up to you to know when less is more.
3. Link, Link, Link
Thank goodness for non-linear navigation! Users don’t need to flip through ten pages of irrelevant content to get to what they want to read. Because of this, the table of contents becomes incredibly important, as it’s a guide to the rest of the publication and also a series of doors to different articles. Users are expecting a clear list of content that links to different areas in the publication that they can navigate easily.
The example above from the Dr. Holly CV publication is a great example of creating an easily navigable and understandable table of contents that links to different areas of the publication based on what the reader is interested in.
4. Think Above the Fold
The term “above the fold” originated back in the print-only days. It referred to content that was above the halfway fold in the paper that readers could easily scan as they paged through the issue. This place was reserved for big headlines, important stories, and eye-catching content, and it should still be used that way.
In your digital customer magazine, “above the fold” (can be called “above the scroll”) is the area at the top of the webpage that can be read immediately upon landing on it before you scroll down to see what else is there. This area catches your readers’ eyes and lets them know what other content can be found on the page. Especially if you have fewer pages and more content per page, this area needs to be used judiciously.
Enfamil provides a great example in their digital customer magazine. As you can see in the image above and by flipping through their publication, each page has a big headline above the fold that establishes the page’s topic. As a reader, you immediately know what the page is about and what you’ll see as you scroll down. There is nothing more disappointing than missing good content because it’s buried under irrelevant above-the-fold headlines and images.
5. Incorporate Moving Images
While GIFs are the darlings of the internet these days, due to their wow-factor and versatility, they can also be very heavy and lead to long load times. Full-screen video backgrounds are quite similar in appearance but they have the advantage of being streaming and therefore won’t weigh down a publication.
Moving images are unique to digital publications. By incorporating them into your digital customer magazine, you can add a visual pop to your content that captures readers’ attention.
When creating your digital customer magazine, consider the principles of formatting, layout, flow, and content organizing to be the foundation of your creation. Build upon them by increasing reader interaction through non-linear navigation and guided linking of content. And lastly, keep in mind that alternative file-types such as GIFs and videos are a great way of leveraging the interactive power of digital mediums. They add depth to your content in a way that will make your digital customer magazines “pop!”
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