Designing an Interactive Magazine. Multimedia

Multimedia is the most powerful tool of an interactive magazine. Use video and audio to get readers’ attention and make articles more interesting. 

Designing an Interactive Magazine.

Video and Audio are one of the 9 basic features. We (publishers and designers) should use them reasonably and never overuse them, because multimedia is not only a powerful tool but also it can be a very annoying thing for readers.  


There are 2 well-known symbols for video:  IMG_1992 Totalfodbold. It’s hard to misunderstand the meaning of these symbols and I always use them.

Examples from existing digital magazines.

Designing an Interactive Magazine. www.magpla.netDesigning an Interactive Magazine.

Sometimes (really rarely) we can see this Fashionguide for iPad symbol or a combination of text + symbol, or just text.
Designing an Interactive Magazine.


I searched through digital magazines and noticed that this IMG_0015 symbol is the most popular (I think 80 %). But there is still a choice:  World GR 4 IMG_9488 copy copy NM emag, I even found this interesting icon Overlap iPad Magazine.

Examples from existing digital magazines.

Designing an Interactive Magazine.

Designing an Interactive Magazine. Designing an Interactive Magazine.      Designing an Interactive Magazine.  

Don’t annoy readers

I wrote a post called 9 Annoying Things in Digital Magazines. One of these items concerned multimedia. How to avoid mistakes and annoying your readers?

1. Pay attention to the settings.

There are screenshots of Adobe Indesign CS6 and Mag+ plugin for InDesign. I think these videos / audio settings are the standard for all digital publishing tools. I’d like to draw your attention to the “auto play“option. I wouldn’t recommend using this option (even if you have the best video, don’t force you reader to watch it).

Adobe InDesign CS6 Mag+ plugin for InDesign CS6

2. Notify and give readers the option to play the video (or not). This is a screenshot of a National Geographic iPad edition. I like the solution they have found. They show readers a full screen video frame, a brief description and “tap to begin” button.

National Geographic iPad Magazine

Why shouldn’t you use an auto play option?

This question concerns UX and readability. Some years ago, lots of web pages “auto played” background sounds (it was a user’s nightmare). And now we can see the same widespread UX-mistake in editorial design.

Readers usually don’t expect any sounds (especially loud sounds). It can be an unpleasant surprise if your tablet suddenly starts playing music in the wrong place. (A few months ago I was reading a magazine on the tram and suddenly a horror movie trailer started playing. The lady in front of me was terrified – a bad user experience).


Overlap iPad Magazine Zoom-Zoom Magazine

Drive Magazine by H.R. Owen Holmes Place Mag

Follow me

Check my other posts about interactive features and have a look at the Navigation Pages:

Designing an Interactive Magazine. Icons
Designing an Interactive Magazine. Scrollable Frames
Designing an Interactive Magazine. Pagination
Designing an Interactive Magazine. Slideshows
Designing an Interactive Magazine. Pop-ups