When to Fit the Mold, & When to Break It: The Possibilities & Limitations of Fixed Layout for E-Books, with Liisa McCloy-Kelley

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What is fixed layout? When should it, and how can it, be used? This presentation, created by Liisa McCloy-Kelley (VP, Director eBook Development & Innovation at Penguin Random House)and originally …

What is fixed layout? When should it, and how can it, be used? This presentation, created by Liisa McCloy-Kelley (VP, Director eBook Development & Innovation at Penguin Random House)and originally featured on the February 18th, 2014 BISG webcast "When to Fit the Mold, & When to Break It: The Possibilities and Limitations of Fixed Layout for E-Books," showcases instances where fixed page experiences are an absolute must, explores cases where the jury is still out, describes how the industry is working to improve those experiences, and notes situations where there is a clear need for further work and testing.

To view the original WebEx webinar, email info@bisg.org with your request. Standard rates apply: $49.00 for non-members, and FREE to members.

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  • 1. 1February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation When to Fit the Mold, and When to Break It: The Possibilities and Limitations of Fixed Layout for eBooks Liisa McCloy-Kelley VP, Director eBook Development & Innovation
  • 2. 2February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation Overview of the eBook Format Landscape (for this month at least)
  • 3. 3February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation 15 Years Later, the User Experiences … For “Basic” eBooks Are Pretty Standard e p • The experience for “Basic” eBooks (linear, 1-color) is not significantly different than the print equivalent • Retailers typically support: • Basic library organization • Basic navigation • Changes in font size • Changes in font • Changes in background color • Bookmarking • Searching • Highlighting of passages • Note taking • Definitions • Sharing of passages via social media
  • 4. 4February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation While User Experiences For “More Complex” eBooks ... Are Not Yet Set Nor Ideal and Can Be Very Inconsistent p e p e p e p e
  • 5. 5February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation Defining the “Page” and Who Controls What Is One of the Biggest Challenges  We are at that point where the content and the reading experience are starting to overlap and standards may need to prescribe what the reading system will do with the content
  • 6. 6February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation As We Move Into An “e ≠ p World” Things Change They may not need: - the same experience - the same pagination - the same navigation And they may not be for the same audiences In print, these are all experiences on pages between covers In e, these are all experiences on screens
  • 7. 7February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation Device Type Support Across Reading Platforms Amazon Kindle BN Nook Apple iBooks Kobo Sony Google Play eInk Device Smart Phone Small Color Tablet Large Color Tablet Web Reader Desktop Apps Apps on Other Devices
  • 8. 9 February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation And Even When We Customize Files, Most Retailers Alter the Files Before Delivering Retailer Amazon Kindle BN Nook Apple iBooks Kobo Sony Google Play Format provided EPUB, KF8 or Mobi EPUB, EPIB Page Perfect PDF EPUB, PDF or iBooks Author EPUB or PDF EPUB EPUB or PDF Format sold KF8 or Mobi EPUB, EPIB Page Perfect PDF EPUB, PDF or iBooks Author EPUB or PDF EPUB EPUB Altered in some way before sale? Yes Yes No (ish) Yes Yes Yes
  • 9. 9February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation Beyond “Fixed”, The Features We Consider to Be “Enhancements” Is an Ever Expanding List • “Enhanced” used to mean an eBook had audio or video added to it • These days, “Enhanced” can refer to a lot more than that and generally applies to anything that needs specialized code and may not be supported well across the entire eBook retail environment yet • “Enhanced” eBooks may have: • Audio files/player in line • Video files/player • Synchronized audio that highlights the text • An Audio soundtrack • Slideshows • Interactive elements • Animated elements • Quizzes • Popups • Scrolling text • Embedded HTML widgets that add app-like functionality
  • 10. February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation “Fixed Page”- The Varieties In Use Today • “Please send us your Fixed Page eBooks” • Sounds easy, right? • It’s not, because fixed page means a lot of different things for different content types and there are few standard ways to code any of this at this point in time • There are at least 7 different types of “Fixed Page” experiences • For Children’s Picture books there are 3 experiences • Plain Kids Fixed with text popups • Kids Fixed with Synced Audio • Kids Fixed with Interactivity • Manga experience • R2L reading, could have 4 quadrant panelization • Comics and Graphic Novel experience • L2R reading, no panelization or “guided panel view” • “Print Replica” that matches the trim and exact paging of print • Fixed that is designed to be “Screen Optimized” • And there are a lot of proprietary ways to format them! 10
  • 11. 11February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation Genres Where Fixed Page “Print Replica” Works
  • 12. 12February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • As long as the reading system supports R2L Navigation, Manga as Fixed Page works pretty well • For KF8, Panelization into 4 quandrants helps readability • It is important to capture high resolution images Manga
  • 13. 13February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • Though panelization isn’t well supported in EPUB3, pinch and zoom works reasonably well to enlarge areas for improved readability • For KF8, Panelization helps readability • It is important to capture high resolution images Graphic Novels
  • 14. 14February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation Comics • Though Comics can be hard to read in spreads, they are reasonable in single page views
  • 15. 15February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • When the “art” IS the page Some Humor Titles and Other Visually Based Titles
  • 16. 16February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • In EPUB, we’ve all been making Kids books that have the left and right side of spreads built as separate HTML pages Kids Picture Books
  • 17. 17February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation Next Generation Kids Picture Books • EPUB3 • One HTML page per spread • Javascript popups to enlarge text • SVG for text on curves
  • 18. 18February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation Where Fixed Page “Print Replica” Doesn’t Work Well
  • 19. 19February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • Examples of “Fixed” – Text Can be small and white space is artificial Fixed To Maintain Text Formatting For Poetry Is “Iffy”
  • 20. 20February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • In reflow the text can resize and most formatting remains Fixed In Reflow Can Be Formatted Reasonably Well
  • 21. 21February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • Where there is a lot of text on a page, it becomes too small to read Lots of Text on the Page Can Be Problematic
  • 22. 22February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation •Navigation on pages like this with too much small info becomes difficult Over-sized Trims Cause Too Small Text and Too Much Info
  • 23. 23February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • Square or unusual trims leave a lot of unused screen space Odd-sized Trims Don’t Effectively Use The Screen
  • 24. 24February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • When text is captured as part of the image, it is not always sharp when pinched and zoomed Poor Experiences When Text Is Captured As Part Of Images
  • 25. 25February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation What Other Options Are There?
  • 26. 26February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • These 4 pages from print re-designed as reflow You Can Focus On Well Designed Reflow
  • 27. 27February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • These 4 pages from print re-designed as fixed designed for screen You Can Adapt A Fixed Design Meant For Screen
  • 28. 28February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • 3 pages from print re-designed as reflow Another Example of Well Designed Reflow
  • 29. 29February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation • 3 pages from print re-designed as fixed designed for screen Another Example of Fixed Design Meant For Screen
  • 30. 30February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation a. Think about what is going to make the best experience for the reader b. Don’t get caught up in matching every print decision c. Think about how much the “design” is a part of the story a. Think about how much text there is a. Make it as easily readable as possible b. Cheap and easy are not always the best ways to make eBooks that will sell – find a balance c. Understand that we are still defining best practices for digital experiences with many genres d. Do your best for the book and the story! What to Focus On When Making Format Choices
  • 31. 31February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation Questions? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
  • 32. 32February 18th, 2014 | Random House LLC | eBook Development & Innovation Thank You! (and go read an eBook ) Liisa McCloy-Kelley VP and Director eBook Development & Innovation Penguin Random House lmccloy-kelley@randomhouse.com