Sunday, March 27, 2011

Power and Possibilities of Interactive e-books

Came across a great article by Keith Stuart at posted Sept 2010. This is the direction I would love to see the development of textbooks and novels used as prescribed texts go. I think I have said - it would be impossible to stop them from reading with this sort of interactive and immersive experience on offer. 

" What impact will digital books have on the experience of the written word – apart from the form factor, and the ability to store hundreds of works on a single ebook reader? Will the rise of gadgets like Kindle and tablet computers like iPad actually contribute to the medium in a creative way?

This is a question that design consultancy IDEO has grappled with, producing a Vimeo clip to show three possible book-reading applications for tablet computers and ebook readers: Nelson, Coupland and Alice. It's the third (from 3:03 onwards) that interests us. Alice, the narrative informs us, is "an interactive reading experience that invites the reader to engage with the story-telling process [...] Stories unfold and develop through the reader's active participation."
For example, clues could be unlocked by shaking the screen so that most of the words 'fall off' revealing hidden codes. Other narrative elements could be unveiled by opening the book while in a specific geographic location. The video also mentions the possibility of receiving text messages and emails from characters in the book. I guess Silence of the Lambs would be a bit more scary if you started getting texts from Buffalo Bill asking what your dress size is.
But these are more like reading enhancements than truly interactive narrative features. Later, the narrator talks about the reader adding to the narrative, co-developing the story, thereby gaining access to secret events, character backstories and new chapters. "In time a non-linear narrative emerges, allowing the reader to immerse themselves in the story from multiple angles." 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Greg, I'm a iOS developer and I have some Apps that maybe you might be interested to review.
    How can I contact you?
    My email is eduardo[dot]alberti[at]iie[dot]cl

    Great blog BTW!