Lightbulb Publishing


February 2016

Spotlight: Aquafadas

“Meet your audience where they live – on their mobile devices.”

“The Aquafadas Digital Publishing System makes it easy to design apps, publish e-books and create digital magazines for mobile devices and the web.”

This is the first of the spotlights I’ll be doing on platforms, innovation companies, websites and other digital things. For ease I’ve shortened Aquafadas to ‘Aqua’ for the duration of this article.

Aqua provides a variety of services and as most people in publishing use InDesign they’ve come up with a nifty little plugin for us. It is authoring that allows customization of eBooks and apps. It comes in a basic or a premium package, the basic includes enhancements like audio, interactive buttons, video, slideshows, HTML5 etc. The premium ups the game with illustration features, mazes, quizzes and you can export docs as ePub docs, apps or web readers.

The main benefit of the Aqua plugin is that it is free, a refreshing use of four letters. It’s also easy to use and provides accessibility to a large array of enrichment’s, which are compatible with most OS’s. It’s laid out in two panels; the AVE Project Manager panel and the AVE Interactivity panel.

The AVE Interactivity panel allows you use and add in any enrichment to a digital product, including any interactivity. Allowing users to do everything from the same sidebar. When your digital product is ready to go it can be sent directly to an iPad to test using the MyKiosk app, this app also allows you to make a demo that you can show to any customer or end user.

The Aqua plugin comes as part of a Digital Publishing System, offering a business model that takes into account publisher’s and agency budget restraints. With an eye for solutions they have created a system that is both intuitive and time saving. The business model is based on fixed fees per publication, allowing users to create cost effective business plans. I should add that my research has found no hidden costs, such as a cost per download, revenue share, charge for push notifications, etc.

Feedback highlights from global publishers who use Aqua:

  1. web store represents an opportunity to increase discoverability via Google Search while reaching a larger number of people, schools and bookshops.
  2. 65% of sales come from books presented in featured sections.
  3. Using notifications, categories and app store optimization increase in-app purchases.
  4. true transformation of the print experience is necessary, where touch and audio are utilized in the same ways that a child’s eye and crayon had been used in the old print editions.

It’s pretty swish, check it out!

Useful links:
Aquafadas homepage

Aquafadas blog




The grey area of simplicity

A lot of trends follow products that are simple to use and focused.  By focused, I mean that its purpose is obvious  i.e Twitter to ‘tweet’ information, Instagram to share pictures, Pintrest to pool images and ideas into one place and so on. Simple designs with a clear purpose. End users have to make little effort in learning how to use them, collate all of these into a larger concept and you have an Apple ipad. When people approach a product with the intent to ‘innovate’ it they usually try to add something, to give it ‘more’; more uses, functions, themes, bread etc. When I write something and it doesn’t work or I want to improve it the first thing I do is strip it down of all the unnecessary words or context that is clouding its aim, until the point I am trying to make comes across clearly. Such is the editor. Adding can lead to complication, for example like Microsoft Word. Tools have been carpeted all over the place to allow you greater functionality but I’d say most people use less than half of those available or know how to use them at all.

The digital sphere produces a never ending Pandora’s box of new tech toys to play with, such as apps . I like to think of apps as boxes, an empty space that you can put anything into, like shoes, bits and bobs and bank statements you’ll never read. Think of all of those apps mentioned earlier as boxes and what people put into each one, chatter, images, ideas. Apps that are empty boxes are filled up by users with their own individual data. But what happens to the box theory when your app isn’t a box that can’t be filled with anything but a block that can be used to build or play with? This is where we leave box sharing and enter block control. If an app is a block then it’s purpose is to offer a form of functionality and the user experience then becomes focused on what the app can do.

We will come back to this, as this hypothesis evolves in my head. TBC.

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