For a while I’ve been thinking about making a book of my BoW. However, a significant part of the experience of viewing a book is tactile and with the OCA’s move to digital only assessment this would be missing. I can only assume that this approach will continue for the foreseeable future. If I made a paper book I would be left with videoing a page turn through it and probably also submitting a digital version in any case. At this time making a paper book for the purposes of OCA BoW assessment doesn’t feel like a worthwhile endeavour. While I will make one at some point, for now I’ll focus on making an ephotobook.
Online research offered nothing specifically about ephotobook design, though there is good information about photobook design and there are paper photobooks to view. The importance of space around the photos, and sequencing and pace are emphasised. The ideas of gestalt, using double page spreads to display two photos together are powerful. There is the tactile experience of holding the book and the choice of materials that helps to make that.
However, some of this ideas don’t translate as I expected to ephotobooks. I experimented making an ebook in Indesign. A key finding is that the ebook experience is device dependent – particularly problematic when working with spreads. A spread might work well when previewed in Indesign or uploaded to their online site and viewed through Adobe’s platform. However, it quickly falls apart when viewed on mobile devices (I tested on an iPad) where the spread might not display as a double page (reader app dependent) and if it does, the images are simply too small to read and it becomes an annoyance. Particularly, if a single image is place across two pages! I learned that spreads must be designed to also work as single pages for the ebook to be portable between platforms. Back to the drawing board for v2.
The ePub format has different qualities and some advantages over paper through its interactivity. It seems important to explore this and play with the ideas of an ebook being a different experience, rather than a compromised experience to a paper book. For example a link to an online map or inclusion of sound files could be tried. The sounds of the canal could make an interesting accompaniment to the images as it is its relative quiet and separation from its immediate environment that is important to the place’s ambience. There is even the possibility of including video.
From my first experiment, it has quickly become apparent that I need to think of an ebook as different to a paper book, not a simple replacement. Otherwise, the ebook just becomes a lesser paper book.