Creating content for phones with Twixl Publisher 4.0

Luk Dhondt 12-02-2015 How-To

With the Twixl Publisher 4.0 plug-in, you can now create an alternate layout for phones in InDesign. In this article, we not only want to show you how to do that, but we'd also like to recommend the best practices we think you should keep in mind when converting tablet content to phones.

Alternate Layouts

1. Create the alternate layout

For new phone only content, you can select the "Phone H" (568x320) or "Phone V" (320x568) template when creating a new article or publication.

For an existing document with tablet content, open your publication, then click the 'Alternate layouts" option in the plug-in and you'll have an extra option to create a "Phone V" and/or a "Phone H" version of your content.

Alternate Layouts

2. Adapting the content

The screen estate that is available on phones is much more limited than on tablets, so there are a couple of things you should consider when bringing your tablet content to phones:

- The "Horizontal only" option, where navigation will only be horizontal, and you only have one page vertically, is certainly the recommended way to publish your publication for phones (while arguably the better approach on tablets as well).

- reduce the content volume in your phone app

- if you work with standard size pages in your iPad publication (portrait 768 x 1024), you can decide to use long pages for your phone design: instead of having a page that is 320 wide x 568 high, you can adjust the length as you see fit so the reader can swipe down like on a web page to see more content.

Alternate Layouts

3. Export the article/publication

When exporting, the Twixl Publisher plug-in will automatically generate three renditions of the phone version:

- 640 x 1136 / 1136 x 640 pixels (used for iPhone 4/4S, 5/5S as well as iPod Touch 5th generation)

- 750 x 1334 / 1334 x 750 pixels (used for iPhone 6)

- 1242 x 2208 / 2208 x 1242 pixels (used for iPhone 6 Plus)

For Android phones, the image dimension closest to the screen resolution will be used, with a preference for scaling down instead of scaling up.

Automatic publication split for multi-issue apps

Twixl publications uploaded to the Twixl Distribution Platform will be split automatically into separate versions for the different platforms (iPad, iPad retina, Android 10" & Android 7", and 3 sizes for phones).

You can check if you uploaded a publication that supports all the platforms by checking the file sizes of the publication.

The advantage is that a reader will only need to download the contents relevant for his device.

For single-issue apps, the disadvantage is that all three phone renditions (and possibly 2 tablet renditions) will be embedded in the app, so it will have a substantial impact on the total app size.

4. Creating your phone app

In Twixl Publisher 4.0, a new "Build for" option in the build settings for your app offers three choices:

  • Tablets (only)
  • Phones (only)
  • Phones & tablets (universal)
Alternate Layouts

This let you decide which type of app you want to create.

IMPORTANT NOTE: building for phones requires that your InDesign export contains a 'Phone' alternate layout. Also, if you submit a universal iPhone/iPad app to Apple, it is not possible to later update this to a 'Tablet only' or 'Phone only' version.

Have fun!

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