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Impact - A Blog by INM

Archive for 'March 2010'

    The iPad is Promising to Save the Magazine Industry, But Can Anyone Afford to Build Content for It?

    Late last week VIV Mag released its video demo of a new style magazine built with the iPad in mind. While the demo is impressive and visually stunning, I really question how feasible it will be for already struggling magazine publishers to invest the kind of time and money necessary to create this level of interactive content. Estimates on the cost of producing this issue are in the $100,000 range. This is for a single issue of a niche publication. How many publishers can really afford to bring out 12 issues per year at this cost, regardless of the extra readership that the iPad is promising to deliver?

    With the iPad, there are many new opportunities for publishers to reach users with their digital editions. That is after some re-tooling as many of today’s digital edition technologies leverage Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight for delivery of their content, neither of which the iPad supports. However, it doesn’t wipe the slate clean. The same challenges in the market still exist. Publishers have an oversupply of information, abundant ad space to sell, and intense competition for eyeballs. Plus Apple introduces some new revenue model issues with publishers too. If they add periodical sales to iTunes, then publishers will lose some of their most valuable data – subscriber information.

    How Flash Builder 4 Changes the Designer-Developer Workflow and More

    As you may have seen Adobe released Flash Builder 4 today, the successor of Flex Builder 3. Why the name switch? The change was designed to create a clear distinction between the free open-source Flex framework and commercial solution. Flash Builder 4 comes in two flavours, a Standard version and a Premium Version. This release is great for companies like us that develop rich internet applications with a strong user experience component, as it introduces significant enhancements in the way developers work.

    The most obvious change in Flash Builder 4 is in the designer-developer workflow. In previous versions, the workflow was one-way – the designer would create a layout and hand it off to the developer for implementation. Now, this process has been opened up and there’s a two-way exchange. Designers can still work with the tools they know and love but now they can work in parallel with the developers. Designers can directly make modifications to the design of an application and implement them easily in the mxml files without breaking the logic a developer is working on, as the components are now separate. This makes it easier for designers and developers to deliver well-integrated applications that are driven more by the user experience than by technical requirements.

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    New RIA Application for the Retail Photo Industry

    Well, the secret is finally out! Last week at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) conference in Anaheim, our partner Tripod Ventures finally unveiled a really cool project that we’ve been working on over the past three years. The application, called Pixtorio One, is a completely new type of photo platform for retailers that leverages rich internet application (RIA) technology and a rich user interface to fundamentally change how customers order prints and other photo products both at in-store kiosks and over the web.

    Pixtorio One Interface

    Pixtorio One provides photo retailers with a single customer experience for both web and kiosk environments, a unified order process for all photo products, and a robust back-end photo management solution. We worked on the concept, development, design of the multi-platform web application as well as the creation of the back-end infrastructure that is architected to handle massive volumes of simultaneous users and process huge numbers of transactions daily. You can learn more about the project by visiting the Pixtorio One website. Congrats to our partner Tripod Ventures on a successful launch!

    Introducing…. Our New Product Owners

    For the past couple of years, our blog has mainly been focused on outside issues and the impact they have on our clients’ businesses. While this information is interesting, it hasn’t allowed our readers to get to know the team here at INM and to better understand who we are. Moving forward, we’re going to be injecting a bit more of ourselves and our personalities into Impact. We’ll be sharing more about what we’re working on, and what makes us tick.

    We’re going to kick this off by introducing you to our new client-facing team, our Product Owners. This is a role that grew out of our adoption of Scrum development methodologies about a year and a half ago. For years, we followed the industry’s traditional model of sales. This meant that we had a few employees who were solely focused on outbound business development. However, as we all know, this model really doesn’t work for anyone anymore. We decided to change this and offer our clients better service, right from their first interaction with us. This meant putting clients immediately in touch with someone knowledgeable that could guide them down the right path, right away. So instead, the first person a potential client now speaks to is also the person who will work on their project and knows the issues, challenges and best practices for their project inside and out. This led to the creation of our Product Owners role.

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