From eBook to App: The Many Options for ePublishing Interactivity

By Kelly Schneider

We live in a world with constant stimulation. Our phones and tablets are full of apps with streaming video content, social media feeds, and ever-updating news sources. How does publishing adapt to an audience used to so much interactivity and in a landscape with so many other outlets competing for user attention?

The article “Interactive eBook Apps: The Reinvention of Reading and Interactivity” explores the evolution of interactivity in ePublishing, from the beginning of eBooks with limited functionality to Apps that overuse interactivity for the sake of including interactivity alone. Ideally, interactivity allows for enhancement of reader experience by addition of video content, animation, and immersion of the user into the material itself. The article contains many examples of past works that have been successful at interactivity, such as Al Gore’s publication “Our Choice“, as well as others that have fallen short of the goal of interactivity, like the “Alice in Wonderland” app for iPad that overused features of interactivity and ultimately distracted from the work instead of enhancing the content.

My favorite interactive elements in ePublishing come from a genre that has used these features to their advantage, children’s eBooks. Because children are growing up with no knowledge of a world before apps and interactivity, eBooks with new features are perfect for this new generation. I recommend taking a look at “The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends” app, which takes a classic story and reinvents it for the interactive space.

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