The Magic of Pagination

The Magic of Reality for iPad is a great example of an ebook that uses pagination to get the most out of the iPad’s screen.

Benedict Cohen, who worked as a book infrastructure developer on the project, writes:

[The app] maintains the convenience of paging (the designer can predict how things will be displayed; stronger content structure; less navigational responsibility for the user) and the digital niceties of scrolling (direct content manipulation, unconfined by physical restrictions).

He also brings up another point related to this discussion:

I see the parallaxing as the most interesting aspect of the scrolling/paging in Magic of Reality as I think it provides a solution to one of the problems faced by digital publications: Compared to a hardback book such as Magic of Reality (and magazines) the amount of content that can fit on an iPad screen is tiny. Parallaxing creates the illusion of the screen being larger and thus feels more immersive. I only realised this in hindsight. The project pitch described the app as one long stream of content. My initial concern was that the content would feel lifeless and that user interaction would feel like menial labour. Parallaxing was my attempt to address this; the fact that it addressed the screen size issue was good fortune.

The same technique can be found in videogames of the 80s and 90s, where it was used to add depth, detail, and a kind of verisimilitude to the basic, sprite-based graphics that the systems of the day were capable of producing. It made you feel as if you were looking into a a vast, deep world, rather than at a bunch of flat, basic sprites.

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designed for use cover

But wait, there's more!

Want to read more like this? Buy my book's second edition! Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web is now available DRM-free directly from The Pragmatic Programmers. Or you can get it on Amazon, where it's also available in Chinese and Japanese.