Monday, May 02, 2011

More on Push Pop Press interactive books

Mike Matas User Interface Designer at Push Pop Press held an online chat at about the design of their interactive book Our Choice.

While it wasn't like I actually interviewed him, he did answer a couple of my questions:

Q: Any thoughts on features like searching, bookmarking and note taking? You said a goal was to "Get rid of the UI," but to add features like that, youd have to add UI. Or do you not see these as necessary tools for the kinds of books you intend to publish?
A: I think there are unintrusive ways of adding those features if we want them in the future. We decided for this release to focus on simplicity and the content. Id rather have fewer features and a really good user experience, We can always add more stuff when necessary.

Q: The book only supports horizontal orientation. Was this an intentional decision, or a technology decision? Or that you can't make a switching layout that works automatically, so pages have to be laid out twice, so you decided it's not worth it?
A. We decided to support landscape only because most of the photos and all of the videos where landscape to begin with. I also think having both orientations makes for a very unsettling reading experiencing. If you support both orientations one orientation is always a little better than the other but it varies from page to page so as I reader I always find myself asking "is this the best orientation to be reading this page in?"

Someone asked what the idea behind the UI was, which he described as:
A. The idea [was to] "get rid of the UI". No toolbars, no back buttons, we just wanted the content to fill the screen so you could really immerse yourself in the content. I think its resulting in a user experience that comes closest to that of a physical book where you can just get lost in the content and are not constantly being pulled out of the experience to deal with the technology behind it.

I asked how the app manages content and memory, which he didn't answer, but he did answer another question about memory management with:
A. Kimon Tsinteris the Push Pop Press Co-Founder and Software Architect worked his magic.

A lot of people wanted to know whether they were going to release a publishing tool, and what it would cost, but he mostly avoided those questions. The few answers he gave on the topic were:
A. The tools we are building are not a development environment but are a layout tool (and much more user-friendly), but we can’t announce any specific details on the product quite yet.

A. We are building a publishing platform that we plan on releasing to the public in the future. Right now it's in private beta and we are working with authors to create books with our tool.

You can read the entire chat here at TED: LIVE conversation with Mike Matas: Monday, May 2nd, 1PM-2:30PM EST
iTunes: "Our Choice" app [$4.99]
See also: NotesOnVideo: Push Pop "Our Choice" app initial impressions

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