Our revolutionary new web app!
In the digital publishing world, tech people (who aren't publishing/communication specialists) often come up with solutions that are excitedly embraced at first, but fall out of favour because they don't give readers what they want.
We're seeing this at the moment with html corporate reports. When printed reports fell out of favour, everyone built microsites for their reports (at great expense). But many analysts and serious readers disliked them because they weren’t able to get a good sense of what was contained in one discrete document. So many companies, fed up with these stranded assets that no-one accessed, are opting to publish their reports as easy-to-read, interactive pdfs.
However, tablets and mobile technology are challenging this format.
With this in mind, Businesswriters & Design has partnered with our web developer Dom Kipps and conceptualised, designed and developed a proprietary web application that allows readers to view, and interact with, publications (like magazines, annual and sustainability reports or brochures) through multiple media, including desktop, mobile and tablet devices, equally easily.
Called BDKread, it is neither a PDF nor PDF viewer, nor is it a microsite. There is currently nothing like it in the marketplace and we are pleased to be setting a benchmark in online applications. It is, we believe, part of the ‘next generation’ of web-based communications.
Why did we develop BDKread?
One of our clients, Macquarie University, for which we design, write and print a twice-yearly alumni magazine, asked us to recommend a more user-friendly and interactive format in which to publish their magazine online – to be accessible to alumni around the world. At that stage, the print version was simply converted into a downloadable PDF and published on the university’s website.
So we researched a range of existing digital publishing solutions. What we were looking for was a web application template onto which publications could be published multiple times, rather than being built from scratch on each occasion.
But it needed to also accommodate the rapidly evolving world of mobile technology and allow the user to read the magazine as easily on a tablet device as on a web browser.
Failing to find a cross-platform solution, we decided to develop one ourselves. Our design and development team got to work and late last year delivered a cost-effective web application giving the Macquarie University’s alumni magazine greater flexibility and reader appeal. www.bdkread.com/index.php/macquariematters/summer-2011-2012.
We understand that Macquarie is the only university, apart from Stanford in the US, that has attempted such an approach.
How does our online viewer solution differ from an interactive PDF or microsite?
• It’s more user-friendly and versatile than an interactive PDF, and simpler and easier to navigate than a microsite.
• It can be viewed equally effectively via a desktop or laptop browser as well as via mobile and tablet devices (like an iPad). So there is no need to expand or ‘zoom in’ to read some sections of text, which is often the case when you’re viewing microsites on a mobile or tablet.
• Navigation is highly intuitive, both for desktop browsers as well as tablet devices (with functionality like swiping and tapping for tablet devices).
• It’s disability-friendly.
• It can be incorporate a company’s branding so that it looks like it belongs to its stable of publications.
• It allows readers to download a pdf and comment on sections as they are reading them, or share them via Facebook or Twitter.
• The backend analytics allow you to see who’s reading what.
• The application template has already been developed, so it’s much cheaper than developing a new microsite.