If you use Google Catalogues as a way to display your products, be advised: Tablet users interact with Google Catalogues in a far different way than desktop users. Adoption of even a few design changes when transitioning a print catalog to a digital catalog will make a substantial difference in consumer’s experience and, thus, engagement.
It isn't a good idea for a publisher to simply upload the company’s print catalog to Google Catalogs-- screen real estate is inevitably wasted due to the different dimensions of the screen. A catalog spread that will fill the available screen space at 100 percent magnification should have an aspect ratio of 32/21 in landscape. More concretely, this means that the publisher should create a spread that is at least 4096 pixels long by 3072 pixels high to fill the screen. Additionally, publishers can’t upload the same PDF file to Google Catalogs that they send to the printing press. Google Catalogs has guidelines regarding the catalog PDF file. Here are some headaches you'll encounter:
- The print catalog file will have to be compressed because the Google Catalog file size limit is 512MB.
- The print catalog file will have to be re-saved with selectable text.
- The print catalog file, which is ordered in printer spreads, will have to be re-ordered in reader spreads.
- The pages of the print catalog will have to be cropped to remove printer marks.
- Blank pages will have to be removed from the print catalog file.
If the printed catalog has page numbers in it and the publisher simply removes blank pages, the page numbering will be off. So either the page numbers have to be removed (the Google Catalogs application has its own page counter), or the blank pages not only have to be removed they also have to be replaced with pages that have content.
While stuffing each available inch of the catalog page with product images and small text is a time honored tradition in the print world, in the digital world it may not work as well. Instead, publishers should consider producing a separate catalog with a look and feel better suited to the user experience on Google Catalogs. One in which the interactivity allows the design to be a lot less cluttered.
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