Thursday, December 20, 2012

Auto Trader Ignition

A couple of weeks ago I attended the launch of Auto Trader's ignition interactive magazine on the iPad's Newsstand. ignition is an interactive magazine, one that is made from the ground up to take advantage of our digital time. According to Auto Trader, the publication will be editorial focused and will help users with their purchasing decisions.

Now, I am not really an automobile person. Living close to London, I don't need to be. Still, there is a time in the future when I would definitely need to own a car. But even as a none car owner, I am already aware of Auto Trader for their new and used classified listings. It's the one magazine everyone I know will look first when researching for vehicles. I approached using the app from a perspective of a person attempting to buy their first ever car. You know, searching the classified listings for the most affordable second hand Ferrari, like all first time buyers do.
Back to ignition, during the launch, a version of the app was available to demo on one of their iPad tablets. I was impressed by how well done the app was. I must confessed, I do not own an iPad, so that was my first time reading an interactive publication.

The iPad version of ignition was most impressive thanks to the multitude of hidden interactive features the designers of the app engineered into the magazine. In pages you will find pictures of automobiles that can be swiped without leaving the page, 3D renderings, hidden pop up filled with trivia information like tips on what to look out for when buying used. It isn't without its fault, for example swiping images may sometimes simply turn the page if you accidentally start your swipe outside the image box. But all in all, it is a jungle of hidden features just waiting to be found, like easter eggs in a video game.
Like the iPad version, the recently released iPhone version demonstrates the benefits of developing a native version of a interactive publication rather than being yet another mobile web link. But it also here where all the limitation of reading a magazine on a smartphone reveals itself. Everything feels so cramped, and while the designers has done their best to scale it down and facilitate one handed use, you can't help but feel that this was a publication that is best read on a tablet. It's still a very well designed publication and, fortunately, if you also own an iPad, you will only need to subscribe once.

Auto Trader ignition is out now for Apple's Newsstand and requires iOS 5 and above. A single issue costs £2.99 to keep forever, while a 3 month subscription will cost £6.99. The first month is free as part of a subscription trial.

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