by David Tien on Fri 10 June 2016

One of the tasks we have here at Spotlyte is constantly re-evaluating the suite of display themes we have published and in our labs library. Our goal is to make it easy for you to discover, curate, and feature your brand's content in the most visually appealing way in any format. So whether that's on a full page website, a corner of your page, mobile screen, or on a full screen stadium display, you have a wealth of different themes to pick from to highlight your brand.

In addition to the multitude of requests we get from Spotlyte users for themes, we also take a pulse of the design trends for web and display to make sure we have the largest suite of modern themes available. As you can imagine, this is a continual cycle of design, refresh, and evaluation for us.

All of this is to ensure that as a Spotlyte user you'll be able to create stunning websites and displays in a few clicks of the button, all backed by the best automatic content discovery and curation tools.

With that said, one of the themes that's had a long gestation period in our labs has been our Digital Magazine theme. We've long admired the image focused yet informational balance of the Yahoo Movie's website design:

Yahoo Movie's Web Design

Notice the various elements at work here:

  • Tiles both tall and wide
  • Informational overlays providing snippets of information without obscuring the image
  • Properly centered images with important parts of content in focus
  • Layout remains full without holes
  • Interspersed tiles for promotional purposes ( sponsors )

Another beautifully designed website with similar elements is international race car driver Lewis Hamilton's personal website:

Lewis Hamilton Website Design

Both of these sites are destinations for fans of their respective content. Yahoo Movies surfaces the most relevant new content around the latest movies, and Lewis Hamilton's site focuses on all the latest happenings and posts around his career and life. Both sites generate a ton of traffic because of the continual stream of high quality, relevant content and the fact that it's beautifully presented.

For these sites, you have a dedicated team of engineers and designers ensuring the design looks good for all types of content on all devices. And likely a team of editors and curators creating and scouring the Web for content.

Clearly we saw the value in such an engaging theme that's proven to draw eyeballs. However, we had our own unique set of problems to solve before releasing this theme. Due to the nature of Spotlyte's content aggregation platform, the content that we discover is a mixture of user generated content ( UGC ), articles and blogs from around the Web, and text only posts. From the variety of sources, the media associated with the content can have varying dimensions and the sheer amount of content that we surface precludes you from having to nor wanting to manually size the media as you would in a standard blog platform or content management system ( CMS ), such as Wordpress.

Instead, our themes dynamically find the best sizing and fit for the media, and displays text only posts with the most appropriate sizes so the relevant information is displayed appropriately. All of this becomes transparent to the Spotlyte user, so from your end all you have to worry about is performing the functions of an editor and curating ( discovering, approving, and highlighting ) the content and allowing our Digital Magazine theme to dynamically find the best fit for it. The content you discover and share just needs to look good in your social display. Period.

Check out our sample Spotlyte social magazine for the Golden State Warrior's 2016 NBA Final's run:

Digital Magazine Website Theme

Tile Types

Let's take a closer look at each of the types of tiles:

  1. Featured ( double tall, double wide ) - These are tiles that are pinned/highlighted from your Spotlyte dashboard. They will be interspersed throughout in a larger format to catch the user's attention.
  2. Wide ( double wide ) - These are video tiles, or text only tiles that contain a large amount of text. We spread the text across a wide tile to keep it readable.
  3. Text Only - These tiles can either be wide or standard sizes. Sizing will automatically be determined based on the content.
  4. Standard - All regular posts will be shown as regular sized tiles, media and text will be sized and fitted appropriately to best display the text or media

Digital Magazine Options

In general, the Digital Magazine theme has most of the other customization options as the other themes including the ability to add your own branding including banners, colors, and fonts. As well as the ability to hide certain elements on a post, or specifying the size of the widget or padding between the tiles.

There are a few notable options:

  1. Show Post Text: Disabling this option will remove all the text only tiles from the display, such that you'll only be looking at posts that include media. The text in the overlay will still remain
  2. Show Post Overlay: You can optionally remove the overlay entirely as well by disabling this option
  3. Text only background colors: By default the background colors of the text-only tiles cycle through several standard primary colors ( red, green, blue, purple ). These can be customized using the Advanced CSS option to match the color scheme of your brand

Future Development

There's still a few other things we have in mind for our digital magazine theme, including some new customization options and possible variations.

Try out our latest Digital Magazine theme and let us know what you think. Create your own Digital Magazine with all of your own specially curated content in just a few minutes. We'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

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