Adobe DPS: an exclusive look at the newest development in digital publishing

adobe dps

Sarah Sullivan


Posted on October 27, 2015

A few weeks ago, in late September, I had the opportunity to attend a roadshow to learn more about Adobe’s brand new baby in the digital publishing world: Adobe Digital Publishing Solution (DPS).

Up until now, Adobe’s rival, Futurefolio, has been our first choice when developing digital publishing projects for clients. Futurefolio is a plug in so it wasn’t always intuitive, but we took our time to learn it and was therefore most familiar with it from building the innovative new sales app for UBS. Would Adobe’s newly-improved system tempt us away from our usual favourite and offer something that could benefit our clients in the financial services industry?

On the rooftop deck of London’s National Theatre, with its distractingly beautiful views of the city over the river, I listened as Adobe unveiled its persuasive new tool.

Why the change

The thinking behind the new software comes out of some bang up-to-date analytics: there has been a striking shift in the mobile landscape. Stats show that people are choosing to spend longer on mobile apps than on websites and that more and more people are viewing content on larger phones (Phablets/iPhone 6) rather than on smaller mobiles or tablets.

To stay ahead of the game, digital content needs to evolve.

Publishers need to remember that audiences are looking to apps first and that they have high expectations. They want unique, responsive digital experiences that are always changing, always up to date, and effortless to use on handheld devices away from their browsers.

An example I listened to illustrated the point with a camera magazine. As is typical, a magazine like this may produce a digital version of its paper edition once a month. But if you were in the market for a camera, would you wait a month to find out what the best choice? It’s unlikely. You’d bypass the app altogether and go straight to a fresher, more immediate source.

This is about making an app a compelling, rewarding first choice. We know audiences prefer them, so if we can get them right, attract people to an app and then keep them there, we’re onto a winner.

Live content

It is this that has steered Adobe DPS’s new direction. Building on the old Digital Publishing Suite software, this new, cloud-based service allows users to create and change the content of one live app, rather than having to publish multiple new versions. App homepages in DPS become dynamic: incorporating changing banners, videos, articles and other live content.

As the software is relatively new, with a beta version released at the beginning of this year and the live version was released at the end of July 2015, there are only a few examples of this new approach in action that had help from Adobe with further development. Top Gear magazine has already jumped in and switched, as had our venue hosts, the National Theatre. With big names leading the way, it is only a matter of time before others follow.

New features

What’s significant about DPS compared to older Adobe services is its new, built-in flexibility. New content can be created and uploaded to apps daily using a variety of code-free, user-friendly content management systems, including WordPress and Drupal.

InDesign or PowerPoint can be used to create fixed layout content, or if you have the expertise, you can create responsive layout content in Dreamweaver, Muse, HTML5, and WoodWing’s new, attractive multi-channel HTML5 tool, Inception.

Compare the old Adobe Publishing Suite workflow to the new DPS one, and you begin to see the extended creative options now available to us.

Old workflow

old workflow - adobe

New workflow

new workflow picture - adobe                                     New workflow

And it doesn’t stop at content creation:

  • Cross-platform compatibility makes it easy to publish to Apple, Google and Windows stores
  • A text notification features means your audience can be alerted to content updates
  • Built-in social sharing links to other social apps to allow easier sharing of content
  • User-generated collections allow readers to build a personalised content library
  • Content discovery through meta-data allows seamless links to other relevant information
  • Improved search facilities help users to get to relevant content, fast
  • Enhanced analytics now measure impact, time spent, pathing routes, and the number of article views

What this means for our financial services clients

We’re never quiet about the fact that we’re evangelical about the potential of digital publishing and app development to transform the financial services sector. This technology isn’t just of benefit to traditional publishing markets; this is something that can change the way all industries sell and communicate.

Creating apps to replace or complement marketing literature offers a mass of benefits. As in the case of our UBS build, they can be used as sales presentations, internal communication tools, mini-websites, or as part of an event marketing strategy. We’re presenting them to clients as the most compelling solution to marketing challenges more and more frequently.

Adobe Digital Publishing Solution will, without question, open up the potential of this new way of working. A responsive app could more easily grow with your marketing and product launches, allowing quick, simple updates to reflect changes in thinking, direction, and response to feedback without the need for costly developer input.

DPS is still too new to replace FutureFolio in our affections immediately, especially as they’re likely to offer competitive updates in response, but are we keen to go away and explore this new service?

You bet we are.