iPad
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At Martha Stewart Living magazine, the emergence of new digital platforms and technologies have been harnessed as a way to enhance its "mission".

With its brand at the centre of its operations, the title launched an iPad app back in November 2010. Speaking at the FIPP Congress in Rome today, Ruth Feldman, vice-president and international editorial director at Martha Stewart Living, said they "were very early adapters".

Since then, the team members have "learned a lot and we are working hard to convert our audience base", she added.

The strategy for digital "has not changed our mission," she said, instead it has served to "further" it.

"Digital has enhanced the process and brought us even closer to our readers."

The strategy is based on three main objectives: to captivate, animate and connect.

Captivate

As many other magazine publishers would agree, captivating images is a key part of Martha Stewart Living's offering in print. With its arrival on tablets, and delivery of its content through the iPad's high-definition screen, there has been much potential to catch the reader's eye.

It has built on its existing commitment to strong visuals, and has adapted and enhanced the experience with digital readers in mind.

"We didn't want to forfeit our strengths," Feldman said, "we wanted to build on them."

And this was not just about photography. The text alone was one area of focus when it came to considering the visual experience, with typographers consulted to find a font which was close to that used in print, but clearer to read on a tablet screen.

Animate

Of course, images in print remain still (except when enhanced by a mobile device employing augmented reality), but on digital platforms, the ability to add interactivity and movement to visuals can be a powerful asset.

"Animation is the key differentiating tool in the digital world," Feldman said. In response to this, the magazine aims to "duplicate and enhance," she added, and "bring it to life through motion".

Examples include video of a flower opening on the front page, instead of the still image appearing in print. A second example is the use of an interactive panoramic photo which appeared in the tablet edition, and enabled the reader to engage with the image.

Connect

Feldman said that connecting with their reader is a "crucial part of our user experience", where the "reader drives the content".

Such features allow the reader "to step inside" the magazine, she explained, using the example of 'project decorate', which let readers vote on room designs and delivered results in real-time.

"As technology changes, we are adapting and improving the customer experience," Feldman said, adding that the magazine is "just getting started".

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