The Knot Brings Wedding Party Onto the iPad

By Steve Smith
10/21/2010

Wedding content brand The Knot arrived on the iPad this week, and it brought a large wedding party with it. The Knot Wedding Magazine for iPad is a $4.99 per issue (half the newsstand price) mag app that tries to leverage the company’s thriving online community of brides and their families.

The core contents of the print magazine are here, but The Knot has laid over them a rich layer of social interactivity that makes this app stand out from any other mag app we have seen. The Ask Carly section lets brides submit questions from the iPad to a community of brides for immediate answers. In just the first hours we saw scores of exchanges among users in this section alone. At the bottom of every magazine feature you see a quote mark icon that pops up to reveal user comments on that specific article. The total effect of these community tools is to create a group reading feel to the magazine that is truly unique.

Also unique to iPad magazines is the customizable content. The Look Book section of the magazine contains a deep and well-presented catalog of dresses and other wedding items that the reader can view by multiple categories (dresses by silhouette, price, designer, etc). Most items include a small “plus” icon that lets you save the item to your personal scrapbook. And there are many ways to share content with friends and family via the usual social networking tools and via TheKnot.com site.

Beyond the path-breaking community and customization features, overall The Knot has re-engineered a magazine layout for the iPad exceptionally well. Most sections have dense galleries of images with thumbnail scrubbers on the bottom rail that are more elegantly designed than most. In most cases, pages have a strong interactive element with pop-up information and unique layouts that do not feel at all like simple swiping through repurposed print pages.

To their credit, The Knot has thought through the creative possibilities of a tablet-ized wedding magazine and taken the first steps in turning a page-flipping experience into a genuinely useful tool for brides. Alas we did suffer some app crashes, and we think that the scrapbooking functions could be explained further. Finally, there is a price to be paid for piping community into an app unfiltered. While there were no rude or inappropriate comments in these areas that we could see, there were a lot of off-topic asides and space-wasting utterances that did not add to the content value. Integrating live, unavoidably messy and unpredictable user-generated content with a carefully sculpted editorial experience is a problem all publishers will have to face on these platforms. The Knot gets credit (from us at least) for being the first magazine to pull community so deeply into the feature well.

Overall, however, The Knot Wedding Magazine for iPad is hands-down one of the smartest magazine designs we have seen thus far on the platform. See video walk-through below.

Rating

The Knot Weddings Magazine for the iPad from TheKnot on Vimeo.