Il Fatto Quotidiano is an italian daily newspaper with two main publishing platforms and separate newsroom teams. The paper is a paid-for edition, distributed in newsstands and to mail subscribers; they have also been publishing a PDF replica on mobile Apps for a while. The web site is a live news outlet with ad-supported free content, that often republishes articles and op-ed from the paper version. We have been working on the project specifications together with the marketing team and the product team of the printed edition, to bring to mobile Apps a WordPress generated HTML digital edition, and at the same time to publish a PDF replica with links to the HTML version articles.
Development for the Newsroom
While we hadn’t the chance to curate the UI & UX design, the project prospected us some amazing challenges. The initial set of specifications included an automatic workflow to collect content from the Editorial Management System GN4, that should automate the process of exporting articles and media, as well as pages from the generated PDF files, to WordPress. The second part of the publishing workflow should have allowed designers to manage and edit articles from WordPress, and set layout parameters that would have allowed a design rich experience on the HTML edition.
The main challenge was to let the Newspaper automatically publish to mobile Apps providing both the HTML and the PDF editions in one light, downloadable package for offline reading. The HTML version also had to allow the Newsroom to manually edit and expand the content in WordPress, thus enhancing the engagement with updates and original content.
In terms of workflow, we needed to make the process simple and quick enough to let the newsroom publish a daily edition in a time sensitive environment, releasing the new edition just after midnight every day and after the print newspaper have been closed and sent to the printers.
Hybrid Mobile Apps
Il Fatto Quotidiano wanted to give their readers a device-optimized reading experience with the HTML edition, and at the same time retain the readers that wanted to get a PDF replica. The audience target is quite variable, with young readers probably more used and comfortable with a website like experience, and an audience more used to newspapers in print.
We developed two mobile Apps for iOS and Android devices, customizing the feature set to include two digital editions at once, and let users to seamless navigate through content back and forth.
PDF pages have been mapped to allow tapable links on articles pointing to the HTML editions, and the toolbar provides controls to go back to the PDF version on the same page containing the currently visible article.
Metric driven and evolving goals
The main attention after the initial release has been gathered by reading the metrics and users’ behavior to understand the engagement for the two digital editions available.
It has been interesting to see how the usage pattern has been balanced between the two, showing up an interest for PDF replica for a digital newspaper.
The HTML edition have also been enriched by a new front page and section pages, that would collect articles and summaries to give a quick look to the overall daily paper.
Balancing the newsroom production overhead with requests for new features is still a challenge, but the WordPress platform is showing up it’s potential in terms of customizing the workflow and making users work on a friendly environment to set parameters and preview the result in real time.