The widget is a bit easier to explain, but we will ruffle the petticoats in a minute; as for the widget, you can kick the tires of this widget immediately by clicking on the front cover of New Humanist in the right hand column. That is a front cover image of the monthly publication. The humble New Humanist widget keeps track of the front cover of the current edition. A widget that guards a monthly periodical is going to have less to do than a widget that tracks the progress of a weekly; and when we distribute a daily publication, the front cover widget is going to be quite busy. The widget is simply a short chunk of HTML which you can copy and paste into any blog or web page, so it is also a convenient way of providing some viral promotion.

Now if you click on our New Humanist widget, what happens?

If you have done that, you will have plunged straight into the petticoat version of the magazine in a new window. This is a minimal view of the current issue of the magazine which allows you to ‘search’ it in full, to see search results and to navigate the thumbnail-image overview of the full magazine. Try a search for ‘dawkins’ to see what you get.

So the idea is that a magazine publisher can promote the current issue of the magazine with this widget, and the potential audience will get some awareness of the contents but they will only be able to go so far, and they will have a reminder that they can go further by subscribing to the magazine (either in its print or in its digital edition). The appropriate call to action can be inserted as a link in the panel that politely informs the audience that ‘This preview only allows you to see thumbnails of the pages….’.

Petticoats, because we used this analogy when we were discussing the idea and considering how we could provide access to full versions of content from current issues whilst not giving the whole show away. We thought it was a bit like the can-can dancer on Montmartre, she can reveal a lot of leg confidently because the petticoats provide adequate cover (this is our thumbnails only view), or she can reveal all in a barely readable form (this would be our double-page view, and is a pretty generous offer), or at the extreme she can provide complete open access. That means taking off all restraints and is quite hard to do if you also plan to sell something to the paying customer….