Publishers are addressing tablet edition staffing, skills and budget issues through plenty of trial and occasional error.
At Rodale, tablet editions have spurred the creation of a dedicated interactive design team that serves the enthusiast publisherâs Healthy Living Group, which includes Menâs Health, Womenâs Health, Prevention and Organic Gardening. Sean Bumgarner, the groupâs interactive design director, leads an eight-person team that focuses exclusively on tablet editions. The group, with a mix of full-time and freelance staff, works closely with the brands but has tablet-specific expertise.
Deciding whether to keep app design and development in-house is one of the key decisions publishers face as they build up their mobile offerings. Some prefer to outsource all aspects of mobile app development to remain focused on their core competency: content development. Others attempt to layer mobile onto existing design and production workflows â often placing an undue burden on existing staff. Still others, like Rodale, have created dedicated digital edition teams, which tend to have a little more freedom to experiment with new techniques and are not hidebound by traditional print conventions.
âWe have experts with the technology who work with the experts on the brand experience,â Bumgarner said in a recent phone interview. âThis allows us to be more agile, more responsive and more thoughtful about our digital editions.â