Review: Beautiful Video Magazine Astronaut most innovative iPad Mag I've seen yet

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iPad magazines have been hyped hard, but the form is still finding its way. Many iPad mags I’ve looked at have simply been paper magazines dropped onto the tablet with little alteration except for maybe a video in the middle.

There’s a lot more to be done with the format and Video Magazine Astronaut is one of the magazines doing it – it’s the most innovative one I’ve seen so far. And very beautiful to boot.

Let’s say straight off: It’s an art magazine about short films and documentary not a commercial blockbuster. But it does some things very nicely, and all of us could learn from them.

Three successful features of Astronaut:

Putting Content into Packages
Mixing up words, pictures and video is what almost all iPad mags do, but this does it really well. Content is split into mini chapters -with easy-browse photos and some pull quotes to tease you in, then as you slide through the pages, getting drawn in – you reach the hub video page, where you can watch a short film or scroll through accompanying text. It thinks about the user journey well, and lets you skim or go into depth.

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Surprising touch interaction
The simple page-turn is fine, but Astronaut goes a lot further in letting the sweep of your finger perform different functions – pulling photos and slides over, pulling fragments of pages over, or letting sections of the page slide away to reveal a photo gallery or suchlike. It generally creates a varied and interesting experience with lots of ways into the page. Making it more like a place to explore around in than a simple linear next-page-next-page journey.

Great content
Yes. This old chestnut. It’s the core of any good magazine, and its very good here. This is an art-film mag – the photos are beautiful, the films are really good in a concentrate-a-bit kind of way. All basic rules of iPad mag design are observed – pictures go right to the edges, play and pause buttons are large enough to be finger-sized.

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Drawbacks:
One criticism I have is of the homepage which isn’t clickable. Navigation from there is solely by a bar at the bottom.

Takeaway:
love the structure of this. Just gear content at this level of quality and you have a winner and think about how you can lead readers deeper into it.


$3.99 on iTunes

or visit the Astronaut website

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About the Author

Anna Leach





Anna LeachReview: Beautiful Video Magazine Astronaut most innovative iPad Mag I've seen yet
  • http://www.picantecreative.com/ Mark Swift

    Interesting to see a small player in the magazine publishing biz do so many things right, when so many large pubs are flailing about with their own tablet mags. Maybe some of the bigger titles should have slowed down their rush to digital a bit and focused on the magazine reader a bit more — and the entire reading experience. Sometimes some of the most long-lasting innovations come from the little guys.

    Anyway, thanks for the review — will definitely be checking this one out.

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