January 25, 2011

A Good Review!

I was so thrilled when this really favorable review, written by Steve Smith of minonline, was brought to my attention.  We at MSLO are so proud of our new digital format on the iPad.  Please have a look at this review and if you have downloaded your copy, let me know what you think!

Martha Stewart Living on iPad Gushes Multimedia
Monday, January 24, 2011
Steve Smith

Like the chocolate sauce that pours over ice cream in the video cover of its new iPad magazine, Martha Stewart Living pours on the touch and multimedia features in this first of its now-monthly digital issues. Late last year, the brand offered a special issue, but beginning with the Valentine’s Day -themed February issue, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia will bring each new edition to the tablet.

As with the first strong effort, MSL’s second issue packs more embedded slideshows, video and animated eye candy than just about any magazine on the iPad.

What is not to love about a video cover showing dark chocolate sauce dripping over domes of ice cream? The MSLO design crew understands the sheer visual impact of high-res visuals and the value of animated play on the platform. One feature on candy has an animated box of chocolates that literally unwraps the story.

Auto-run animations are used to entice readers to subscribe to the brand and to fall into a multimedia-rich feature that brings together some of the world’ best crafters. There are many, many videos throughout the issue, adding both bits of personality from the editors and cooking techniques embedded in the recipes themselves.

For all of the lush visuals in this package, the MSLO designers have maintained a firm grasp on practicality. All of the recipes in the magazine pop up to fill the screen. There is a recipe index and a list of sources at the back of the book for easy reference to all of the resources in the issue and pointers to their Web references.

MSLO also has its eye on the business ball. There are numerous links to the online store for purchasing ingredients and items from MarthaStewart.com. The advertisers also have been invited to up their game. California Closets has an excellent campaign throughout the issue that links hotspots in the ads to specific storage solutions at its online store.

Overall, MSL excels on the iPad in the same way it does in print—with a strong design sense. The tablet pages are beautifully crafted, with an excellent balance of white space and a clear sense of balancing practicality with entertaining whimsy. Subscribers to the 21-year-old print edition will rightly complain that the $3.99 per-issue price double-charges them for much of the same content. Until publishers and Apple fix this problem, magazine apps will have a limited overall appeal, no matter how well they are executed.

Nevertheless, for single-issue buyers, MSL delivers clear value. In just the few days the issue has been available, it is among the top-selling and top-grossing apps in the iPad Lifestyle section.