Join William Everhart for an in-depth discussion in this video Consuming digital content, part of Learning Digital Publishing (2012).
No matter the format, digital publications are viewed on digital devices. Perhaps the most popular device for viewing digital documents currently is the tablet. These devices were designed with ease of use in mind. With their extremely long battery life, internet connectivity, and most of all, portability, tablets allow their users to interact with their digital content how they want to, when they want to, and where. Most digital publications require an app to be installed on the tablet, but with an active Internet connection, this is just a matter of a tap or two.
Many of these e-reader apps are designed for a specific format, though some, like Apple iBooks, can read multiple digital publication formats. Personal computers are used for displaying digital documents. Just like devices personal computers use an application to display the content and some even allow you to manage your digital content across multiple devices. Of course desktop and even laptop computers are not as portable as a tablet and thus are less popular for viewing digital magazines and books. Instead these platforms are primarily used to view electronic publications like business reports, product specification sheets, human resources publications, and the like.
Not to be left out of the mix, mobile devices such as smartphones can also be used to view digital publications. Their smaller screen size can be a pain point for some digital publishing formats, such as PDF or the Adobe DPS apps. The fixed layout nature of these formats make text extremely difficult to read on smaller devices unless they are designed specifically for small screens. The user can zoom in on the content to read the text, but they're left with having to scroll in both directions to view more content.
This is not optimal for delivering large amounts of content. On the upside, these devices are very portable and most everyone has a mobile phone capable of opening a digital publication of one format or another. So if care is taken to either develop a DPS app for the smaller screen, or an EPUB format is chosen over PDF, your content will be warmly accepted by users on their smartphones. Viewers consume digital publications on various devices and many times across multiple devices. One may start reading a publication on their desktop computer and then continue reading on a tablet or smartphone during the commute home.
There really is no place you cannot go without a digital device for consuming digital content. Well, say maybe scuba diving. Now that you know how digital publications are consumed, how do you decide which digital format is right for you? In upcoming videos, I will discuss the various digital publication formats pointing out the good, the bad, and the ugly of each. I will also offer my recommendations for publishing in each of these formats.
- Is print dead?
- Understanding digital publishing terminology
- Comparing an EPUB to a fixed-layout EPUB
- Publishing with PDFs
- Understanding the benefits and shortcomings of ebook apps
- Working with InDesign, Word, and iBooks Author
- Understanding distribution options
- Selecting a publishing format
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