The digital market is a highly variable structure, where revenue level depends on a popularity of a certain operating system. Platforms continuously replace each other, winning market share, bringing unexpected breakthrough and ruining hopes. A cross-platform approach is the core of a long-term strategy, guaranteeing no risk at any time.

1. Reliable conversion technology to re-create the brand

A publisher’s first steps to the mobile world begin with converting print content from PDF, MS Word, InDesign, MS Excel or other formats into the engine-compatible digital format. The biggest challenge and the end goal of a successful conversion is to communicate all brand elements into a mobile version. This is the developer’s ultimate goal – to present the mobile user with the same design, look, colors, logo and other layout components as the print edition.

In order to provide a complete brand correspondence and the maximum comfort and benefits for the end-user, our technology structures dictionary entries by separating them into components such as usage examples, translations, phonetics, parts of speech, tables, pictures, and other groups. The structuring operation permits the developer in agreement with the publisher to add to the app new advanced features, such as colored markup, hyperlinks between articles and directions (for example, English-French or French-English), a possibility to hide or display specific information (usage examples, comments, etymology, etc.) in the article for a more customized view on a mobile device, and many other features.

2. Simultaneous multi-platform development

The key point, which a publisher should consider when entering a digital dictionary market, is that it’s a highly variable structure, where revenue level depends on a popularity of a certain platform (Operating System). Platforms continuously replace each other, winning market share, bringing unexpected breakthrough and ruining hopes. Thus, some titles for Mac OS bring more revenue than those for Android. It’s all relative. This instability of the digital dictionary market raises tricky questions to publishers: which platform to choose? How to secure one’s investments in case of poor performance of a new platform (bada, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, etc.)? Is there a solution to avoid these risks for publishers?

Using DADF simplifies the development of the product to shell migration only and reduces development costs per title (e.g. DADF incorporates the keyword list, articles, sound, morphology, grammar, etc.) For example, one database developed for iOS can be used on another platform (e.g. Android) without the database recast. In conjunction with multiple development teams (one per platform) that can work on many dictionary projects simultaneously, a cross-platform approach decreases a product’s time-to-market and guarantees stable revenues for dictionaries.

3. Innovative end-user features to take advantage of the device’s capabilities

Recent services and technologies, for example from Google and Apple, have raised the consumer’s expectations so highly that third-party developers have to create apps with features to meet these new requirements. Below are just a few essential features:

  • o Morphology module analyzes a word form and provides translation for words entered in any grammatical form (plural nouns and adjectives, different verb forms, etc.). Since most words occur in speech in inclined or conjugated forms, it may be tricky for a language beginner to figure out an infinitive and to get a proper translation. Morphology modules solve this problem.
  • · Full text search (for Android, iOS and Mac). Released in 2013, a new full text search function allows users to look up a word not only through dictionary keywords, but also through all available translations and usage examples in the entire dictionary. For example, by typing the word “taste”, the user will see not only the entries and links to the most relevant articles but also words such as “discriminating”, “educated”, and others that provide additional examples of phrases with the word “taste”. As a result, the translation becomes the most comprehensive and detailed possible.
  • ·  Handwriting input. Powerful search options allow users to write words or phrases by hand without using a keyboard. This new handwriting recognition capability is enabled through the integration of Paragon’s proprietary handwriting recognition PenReader technology that supports 35 world languages.

4. Trim the sails to the wind: marketing

After app development has been finished, the most important next step is to market this new product and submit it to online sales channels, such as the iOS App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon App Shop, Windows Phone Store, and others. Paragon Software is a leading expert in marketing services, successfully managing more than 2,000 reference applications in the company’s own online distribution platforms, and every major app store is known. But is that enough for a long-term strategy? Is there a “life” outside app stores?

5. Web Services

Let’s look closer at the user interaction patterns for mobile and desktop devices. Global giants like Apple and Google influence it, once again. Thus, iOS 6 with its iCloud Tabs allows users to sync browser tabs between different devices and continue viewing the page right where it was left on a previous device. A similar technology is supported now in a recent version of Google Chrome for iOS. As a result, the user gets a hitherto unknown mechanic of cross-platform content consumption on multiple devices and browsers with seamless access to content of interest.

The digital dictionary market is maturing, providing new opportunities not only for large and prominent publishing houses, but for smaller, regional authors as well. Independent authors come up with rare reference editions adding new languages, unique dialects and very specialized vocabulary to the wide spectrum of already established and traditional reference and learning brands. It’s important to encompass all languages and dialects, all brands and niches, creating apps to satisfy all mobile user reference and learning needs.