Technology | Michelle Rowe | June 21, 2017
EBSCO’s Technical Product Manager for Flipster, Michelle Rowe, offers guidance on what to look for when selecting a digital magazine platform, and the role that digital magazine apps play in the user experience.
Don’t let clunky platforms and poorly designed apps get in the way of patrons accessing your services. The new Flipster iOS and Android app provides library users with a mobile experience like no other, and as many libraries are realizing the importance of mobile apps, they may be unsure how to assess a digital magazine provider. EBSCO’s Technical Product Manager Michelle Rowe answers questions about the new Flipster app and why libraries are moving to digital magazines.
Q. What offerings can set a digital magazine platform apart?
Flipster strives to provide the best content to various markets. Right now, Flipster offers a robust selection for public, corporate, K12 and academic libraries. Some favorites include Cricket, which is widely popular with children and families and in the classroom. The publisher Time Inc. has broad appeal across multiple categories including news and politics, entertainment, home and garden, lifestyle, and sports. Flipster also includes titles readers know and love such as Businessweek, Consumer Reports, Forbes, Girls’ Life & Science News.
Q: What excites you most about the newest version of the Flipster app?
Our design challenge was to offer a seamless workflow within the app, where previously it was offered through a combination of a web browser and an app. Now in five simple steps, library users can find their library, log in, explore, download, and read Flipster magazines in just a matter of moments. I love the simplicity of the design - the interface is visually appealing, but never distracts from the magazine content itself.
Q: What benefits does the Flipster app offer to librarians?
One of the key principles we follow as developers is to design our apps “natively” - this means that we observe Google Material Design and iOS best practices, so that our iOS and Android users instinctually know how to use the Flipster apps without extensive library training. For example, if you love your iPhone, we want the Flipster app on the iPhone to feel intuitive and easy to use without requiring a great deal of assistance.
Q: Why should a library go digital for their magazine collections?
Flipster offers rich content display in a digital replica, allowing you to save physical shelf space and provide on-the-go access to great content for your users. Because it’s digital, we can also flexibly offer different ways of looking at the content, such as a Text View mode.
Q: Can you talk a bit more about the different ways of looking at the content that Flipster provides?
The Flipster app offers interactive ways to enjoy the digital content more fully. It’s easy to click on a cover story and go immediately to that article within the magazine, or click on a URL in an advertisement to go directly to that web site. If you’re interested in focusing on the imagery of the magazine content, you can enter Full Screen mode and zoom in as much as you’d like. Or, as I mentioned previously, Text View mode provides the article content without the distraction of the imagery. So essentially, users get more interaction with digital magazine content.
It seems as though every digital magazine platform should be easy to use, but not all digital platforms for libraries are created equal. Learn more about the new Flipster iOS and Android apps by watching the replay of Navigating the Flipster iOS and Android Apps: A Step-by-Step Demonstration of Newly Enhanced App Features.
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