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What is a digital reflow?

Luca Filigheddu

digital reflow magazine

When it comes to publishing and distributing your magazine with a mobile app, there are a few different ways to format your digital magazine. Traditionally, publishers have published digital replicas – a simple PDF version of their magazine – which for many circumstances gets the job done.

However, publishers have also recognized the need to include interactive elements like video, additional popup content, audio and more to enhance the reading experience. While you can embed and overlay interactive elements in a replica, it’s a low-tech solution that doesn’t meet the demands of digital natives. So what’s the future? We introduce the digital reflow:

What is a Reflow?

Digital reflows take interactivity a step further by designing for mobile.

Unlike digital replicas – which force a full magazine page onto the screen – a reflow is designed so that text, images and other interactive elements are enlarged to comfortably fit the screen of a device. This results in a superior reading experience since the reader doesn’t need to zoom in/out to read text or engage with content.


Also, instead of the traditional flipbook experience, reflows use “vertical swipe”, meaning readers can swipe from side to side to browse articles and scroll down to read them. Readers can also swipe to the next article from anywhere within the article they are currently reading, making navigation within the magazine more intuitive. In the example below from our client ActionAid, you can see that the reader can scroll through a very reader-friendly article and access an interactive image gallery, before swiping to the next article.


Digital Reflow Advantages

There are many advantages to creating digital reflow magazines versus replicas, on both publisher and consumer side. As we’ve mentioned already, reflows offer readers a superior reading experience which translates into improved access to your content and more time spent inside your app.

Reflows also meet the expectations of today’s digital savvy, media consumer. Embedded video, audio, animation and images in responsive page formats load quickly and play seamlessly across different mobile devices, helping to increase reader engagement and magazine profits. Publishers can also develop engaging sponsored content or advertising, giving advertisers more reason to invest in your digital edition!

What’s holding you back?

Reflows are the answer publishers have been looking for to increase engagement using some of the latest content trends, but like anything worth having, they do require a greater investment. Designing reflow pages, whether in inDesign or DPS, does require specialized internal resources and time. That being said, once your reflows are designed the files (.folio or HTML/HPUB) can be imported into a mobile app management tool, like Paperlit, so publishing new issues in a branded newsstand app is a breeze!

Are you ready to give readers a richer reading experience from your digital edition? Have a chat with one of our sales reps to discuss your needs and join the reflow revolution!

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