A few weeks ago, I read this article on the Future of Ink site and thought, Sweet Baby Lettuce! This is just what I’ve been waiting for.
The post (guest written by the CEO of Glossi) likened the new platform to the newspapers in Harry Potter:
Do you remember the newspaper in the Harry Potter movies? Named The Daily Prophet, the paper featured moving images in the same spaces where real world newspapers can offer only static images. The Daily Prophet represents the future of publishing on digital platforms.
Basically, you’re able to create multi-media digital ebooks and magazines “with little to no graphic design experience.”
And it’s true. I tried it out for myself and created this digital magazine for one of our past Word Carnivals. Take a look:
The above document took me approximately 5.5 hours to put together — and I wouldn’t exactly consider this “done.” It hasn’t been proofed and it’s missing some links. But not bad for something so text heavy.
Glossi is still in public BETA mode, so you have to get invited to join (for free). But it didn’t take more than a few hours for my invite to arrive once I’d requested it.
As a former graphic designer, I felt like there weren’t enough options in terms of layout…but I’m used to using things like Adobe® Illustrator and InDesign, so I’m probably not the best judge.
Here’s what would’ve helped make the process faster:
- The ability to link text boxes from one page to the next so that overflow copy could automatically kern to the new pages. (Currently you can only change the text box in question to columns which then adds a scroll bar to your copy on that page.)
- A standard text box option for body copy. Currently, you can only modify a page’s layout if you start with the custom page. From there, you add as many text boxes and image placeholders as you like. But each text box comes pre-filled with title caps instead of body copy.
- Easier-to-use text boxes. I found myself trying out all sorts of ways to copy and paste my text into the boxes they provide. Double-click. Single-click. Triple-click. Click and pause. It began to drive me a little batty. Positioning the cursor in a text box via my mouse was also tricky. I ended up having to use keyboard shortcuts in order to move my cursor where I needed it to be so I could select and cut the overflow text. Oy!
- Ability to set formatting preferences for things like Hyperlink colors so you don’t have to change them all by hand.
Here’s what I enjoyed about the process:
- Responses to help requests were quick and swift. They’re using Zendesk and Katie (the person helping me) was professional and helpful.
- The drag and drop simplicity of placing images.
- The upload process allows you send multiple images at a time to your clippings (the holding area for your images).
- The ability to make the publications public or private — although, anyone with the link can access a private document, so beware!
- The ability to embed a publication and have it open in a new window so your readers don’t lose track of your website.
Things I’d love to see happen with this platform:
- The ability to sell subscriptions on Amazon and/or iTunes.
- The ability to embed Tweets and other social media snippets.
For now, I give this tool 3.5 stars. Since it’s in BETA, they’re sure to make improvements that will bring it up to 5 stars soon.
If you decide to give the platform a try, head over to their YouTube channel and watch a few tutorials first.
Questions? I’m not a Glossi expert, but I can sure give you some pointers if you get stuck. And if you do create something, be sure to come back and share a link to your masterpiece.