How do you translate Norway's most read weekend magazine from print to web?

 

Together with Aftenposten, Railway developed a new vision for how A-magasinet could have the same impact on screen as on paper.

Concept development • Web design • Editorial design

 

The brief

A-magasinet is Norway's most read weekend magazine. Every friday the magazine arrives at the door step of 400.000 weekly readers, and every week the staff at A-magasinet delivers gripping, human stories that expand our view of the world.

So why read A-magasinet on the web, when it arrives on your doorstep anyway? That was the question. In two weeks Railway where to deliver a complete vision for a digital magazine that wasn't just a pixelated shadow of its paper counterpart.

We dedicated two designers and one journalist who together researched trends in digital publishing, developed the concept and designed the mockups.

 Typical pages from the print magazine.

Typical pages from the print magazine.

 

Editorial craftmanship

We spent a lot of time analysing the editorial principles of the paper magazine. A-magasinet's feature stories are what usually dominates the cover and appears early in the magazine. Feature stories where given an engaging intro, with options for more custom design as well as a standard template that captured the readers attention. This paralleled the opening spread of the feature stories from the print magazine.

 

Community

We wanted the online version of A-magasinet to be the place to debate and discuss the stories from the print version. At the time we worked on this, Norway’s biggest online paper Dagbladet, closed its comments section. The value of an open public community in the mainstream online media was under heavy debate.

We strongly believe in the value of a free comments section. At the same time we wanted to create a safe and healthy place to voice your opinions. At the end of each article we designed and expanded comments module. By showing a editorial selected comment, the editor could frame the tone of the debate more.

 

Borrowing from blogging platforms, we wanted readers to highlight certain parts of the text and comment on it. Our theory was that this would encourage a more grounded debate with specific references to the text.

 

Casual reading pattern

The reading pattern for smaller stories is faster. We designed the layout more compact, with more options to jump from article to article. All the stories in one section where loaded as you read, so you could scroll through the whole column.

 

A classic front page, with a twist

A-magasinet is a weekly magazine. The singel cover story is an important talking point for many readers. We wanted to bring some of that with us to the digital version. We chose to keep the static cover by building a template for translating the iconing design from the paper magazine.

At the same time we also wanted to show that A-magasinet was a dynamic site and a place for lively discussions. We designed a “Just now” module with latest comments, rising and recomonded stories from the editors. Together the cover story and the live module created a living, yet concrete feel for the content.

 

Editorial modules

We designed several modules to be used further down on the front page, and through out the site. The “Opinions” module shows a editorialy selected comment, that highligts the importance of the community on the site.

Borrowing the popular format Ask Me Anything on Reddit, we created a “Live” chat format. At a set time an interesting person would answer questions from the comments section. This could be used for subjects from the articles, or further questioning and depth from the journalists.

 

We’ll be right back after these comercials

Ads are important for any online publication, but they are strongly disliked by the readers. We created a banner template that didn’t disturb the flow of the reader, while still clearly being marked as an ad.

We where inspired by the sponsor messages spoken by many podcast hosts. By only displaying the text “Brand name supports A-magsinet” we wanted to create an understanding for the need of ads, while buidling on the value of journalism. Every ad would have a unique link with an offer code to create a perceived value for the reader.

By clicking the X, we wanted to know the readers opinion of the add. A classic trick from many social media platforms.

 

We created many formats for ads through out the website. The format above was designed for the feature articles. By using low height and full width, we created a short pause in the storytelling and clearly seperating it from the design of the story.

 

Community, Part 2

Taking a step further, we designed a story editor. Inspired by the popularity of Medium, we saw that A-magasinet could widen their reach by opening up for personal stories written by readers. A section of the online paper would showcase stories by readers with a unique view or history.

We also wanted the journalists and editors to be able to use the online editor to create their articles. By giving them a way to see how to story would look as they where typing it, we would make it more rewarding to publish stories on the web.

 

The Quiz

The last, but often the most important part of a magazine, is the quiz. A-magasinet’s quiz is based on the content of the weeks stories, yet many readers only read the quiz. Because of it’s wide popularity we wanted the quiz to have its own app.

Many readers do quizes together with their family and friends. But today almost all quiz-apps are based on individual use, with online multiplayer and so on. We wanted A-magasinet’s quiz app to be an back to basic quiz for the family. The simplest version of the app would show the question, then by a tap, show the answer. Just as in the magazine. Simple as that.