The five main things clients need to plan for when creating a digital publishing app for internal communications.
We’re now creating more and more apps for our clients, notably digital publishing apps – through the use of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite – which are being used for internal communications.
And because it is often a new area for clients, we’re finding that they are coming to us somewhat under prepared, which unfortunately does have an impact on the subsequent design and development of the app.
We therefore thought it worthwhile to put together a short post on the five main areas we think clients should give attention to beforehand.
Believe us, working with a prepared client certainly helps when it comes to designing and developing an app!
It may sound obvious, but there must be a clear purpose for the digital publishing app. It shouldn’t just be the case of creating one because apps are the thing to be doing.
The app must benefit both the business and the audience – Not just one, both.
Have a clear understanding of what it is the app will be used for, eg is it to raise awareness, for corporate storytelling, to aid workers in their role, or to increase employee engagement? And more specifically, what is it you want users to do with the app? For example do you want them to share content, ask questions? And is there a call to action?
It’s crucial that from the very beginning you outline the goals of the app. The goals will have a huge bearing on the design and development of the app.
As with all communication materials, the one bit that is crucial to success is… content. Many simply want to turn existing collateral (eg printed literature) into digital versions, which is perfectly understandable. But the content needs to adapt and be relevant to the new medium it is being consumed through. This will likely require new content, such as photos, videos and animations. Often, for clients, acquiring new content is a huge job in itself, and so one that should be factored in to the timeframe of the development of the app.
Interactive content is what engages the user and so what makes a great app, so it is ideal if the client can provide interactive content such as videos. But failing that, the beauty of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite is that existing static content – e.g. photos/images – can be transformed into engaging interactive elements.
And remember; try to get away from a print mindset. You are not bound to a specific number of pages. This allows you to add depth to your content, giving the user the opportunity to uncover different levels of content based on their level of interest.
It’s not a case of breathing a huge sigh of relief once you’ve finally finished and published your app, and then leaving it to take care of itself. It won’t. Often this is why many apps get downloaded, used once and then never returned to.
Granted, many digital publications will be weekly/monthly issues and so new content is a must. So in this case, focus should be on evolving the app, continually pushing interactivity to its limits, and expanding the use and benefits of the app – Factors that will encourage users to keep returning to use the app.
But for digital publications that are not published weekly/monthly etc. attention should still be on continually updating them, again with content and new interactive features. Plan for future content.
Also get out of the mindset of regular times for updating – e.g. new issues. Updates can be made very easily and affordably –unlike print – so make changes to your digital publication whenever you feel you can add something that will improve the user experience or help meet a business objective – ideally both!
Obviously, analytics will measure the success of your overall app, and Adobe DPS analytics also allow measurement of specific pieces of content. But it’s what you learn from the analytics that is important, and this understanding will inform the changes you make to your app – evolution – to continually improve its success.
Adobe DPS analytics are now very advanced and continually improving, so clients should make good use of them regularly, and from the very onset – so train up!
After all the time and effort you’ve put into creating a digital publication, make sure that your audience knows that it’s available, and where they can get it from. Make use of existing communication channels and digital real estate to raise awareness, and ask leaders to communicate directly with their team letting them know of the new app.
Also, once a user has downloaded the app, make sure they are continually made aware of the app and the new content that is regularly being added to it – Push notifications are a great tool to us for this.
Giving thought to the above areas before the app development process will stand you in good stead and help ensure you create a successful digital publishing app.
For any more help with a digital publishing app project, please do get in touch.
Until next time