Canadian Magazine Industry News
24 October 2013,     TORONTO
COPA Judges Blog: The Tech Experts
The COPAs are just a few weeks away! Continuing the countdown is Martin Seto and his COPA Judges Blog, bringing you more from the minds of this year's panel of judges.

All digital publishing strategies need a technology foundation to distribute their content. We know technology is constantly changing, and now any device can be a reader entry point whether via email, social, website or search. As a result, making content easy to navigate and preventing click fatigue are important concerns in web design.

Judges saluted all the creative ways multimedia is being used to produce the ultimate reader experience. The days of "above the fold" analogies are perhaps over as people like to scroll on tablets and not click (big-finger syndrome). Readership habits are evolving alongside each technology disruption.

IRENE FU - Web Architect
Irene's web skills were developed at the Business Information Group, where she oversaw web operations for 20+ B2B publications. She now works on the client side for the Toronto District School Board. She was on the judging panel for best website design.

Thank you for allowing me to judge your entries this year. I am amazed at the variety of outstanding content that is being produced in Canadian online publishing. There has been a noticeable move toward user interfaces that are image-heavy and look their best on tablets. Tablets certainly do lend themselves to big and beautiful graphics, but I would caution publishers from moving so fully toward images that content becomes secondary and navigation becomes clumsy.

Understandably, the target audience and subject matter would greatly affect choice of design, but I'd wager that good quality content is of primary importance for most people. I was also somewhat dismayed to see the growing move towards 'Top 10'-style slideshows. For most of these, users are asked to click through each slide in order to see the next page of content.

Presumably these are popular for publishers because of the increase in page impressions, but it is cumbersome and frustrating to the user. The user experience should always be top of mind. I fully understand that there are many different competing priorities for publishing content, but always try to remember how best to serve the user first :)
Gunnar is one of the judges from Western Canada. He is the web architect at Venture Publishing, based in Edmonton, that publishes Alberta Venture and Alberta Oil. He provided technical expertise as a judge in the multimedia category this year.

This year's COPA video and multimedia entries are proof that publishing has continued to evolve through some of the worst adversity outside of censorship. By stepping away from traditional print and television, 21st century reporters and designers have staked their claim on the future by creating some of the most innovative and evocative projects on the internet.

No strangers to recording media, you have taken your photography, audio and video resources to create interactive multi-layered windows to the worlds you're exploring. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of our demise are wishful thinking: it was a delightful education to participate in this year's awards.

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The 2013 Canadian Online Publishing Awards will be held Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at The Hoxton in Toronto. Click here to register and visit the COPA website for full details.
— Martin Seto
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Jaded says:
Wow, Torstar really seems to be on a mission to bankrupt one magazine after another....
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Full of terrific information, Thanks!...
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