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Newspapers, like books and magazines, have responded to the new opportunities for tablet publishing, but unlike books and magazines, newspapers have a tremendous challenge to provide a large amount of new content every day. As a result, sometimes a tablet edition of a newspaper contains links to interactivity rather than having it embedded in the issue. Let's take a look at one newspaper whose tablet epaper app fits this description, The Boston Globe. The Boston Globe runs a web site called boston.com that features some of the newspaper content, but in order to get the complete digital edition of the newspaper, which they call the epaper, you have to have a paid subscription.
When you do subscribe and download the app, it appears in the iPad Newsstand, along with the other periodicals. I can tap it to go to my Library view, where I see the issues I've downloaded and the ones that are available for me to download. I can tap on an issue to view it. And there are two different views to choose from: Page view and SmartFlow. This is Page view. I can swipe up and down to view this page and I can swipe left and right to view other pages.
I can also pinch and zoom or double tap to move in and out on content. At the top-right there are buttons for switching between single page and spread views. At the bottom there's a navigation bar where I can tap to skip to another section. So if I wanted to see world news, I can tap the world and go to that section. Thumbnails of those pages come into view, and I can tap one to go there. I can also navigate quickly by tapping the left and right arrows on either side of the bar. So if I wanted to read the comics section, I can hold the arrow down on the right side and scroll quickly to the last section and then tap to read the comics.
It's too bad the crossword and puzzles aren't interactive. Maybe some future version will add this. Some articles contain hyperlinks. If I navigate to an article that was continued in the print edition from one page to another, I can click the continued page number to jump to it, and from that point I can click the Continued From button to go back to the page where the article begins. I'll navigate to the Sports section by tapping it in the bar at the bottom. Notice how most of the article titles are highlighted in blue? That's a shortcut to read the article in SmartFlow.
So I'll tap one of the blue highlighted titles, and the page flips over to SmartFlow, and I can swipe to view the content in a simpler format. Notice at the end of the articles there are these green arrows. If I tap one, that opens a pop-up with several choices. I can switch back to Page view, print the article, copy it, listen to the article be read aloud, I can express my opinion by voting thumbs up or thumbs down, and I can share the article via social media. Let's tap Share. Notice that when I'm in SmartFlow, in the top-right I also have formatting controls.
I can make the font size bigger or smaller and change the font just like I could with an ebook. So which of these things could you do with InDesign? Well, you can create hyperlinks between pieces of content, you can create pop-ups with links to social media as well as buttons to print content and to play audio; but you currently can't do things like resize the text, unless it is just a picture of text. Overall, there's usually not much in terms of which media in the epaper edition of The Boston Globe. We don't see the slideshows or videos that are common on boston.com.
In fact, the main feature of this app is to give access to the content of the newspaper and separate that from the free content on the web site, that when there is an article that mentions rich media like audio or video, it's hyperlinked to the web site, which opens in a separate viewer to see that content.
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