Nellie McKesson

…and along with EPUB 3: New CSS!

Simplifying and eliminating competing visual distractions for the reader

Hopefully you all read Sanders Kleinfeld’s great writeup about O’Reilly’s move to EPUB 3, and the changes and challenges that brings. Along with updating our toolchain, we also revisited our EPUB design and took a stab at improving the user experience. While most of the updates aren’t necessarily very visually exciting or seemingly worth a lot of fanfare, I thought this would be a good opportunity to give some background into the reasoning behind the design choices I made, and some of the limitations we still face, even with the advent of EPUB 3.

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PDF is still “better”

Until eBooks are redesigned exclusively for the screen, print and PDF will continue to provide a better user experience

A few weeks ago, I surprised myself. I had decided to learn a new code language, and O’Reilly of course has a great little book about this particular language, so I pulled up the eBook files, and almost without thinking, I loaded the PDF onto my iPad, rather than the EPUB. And my brow furrowed as I tried to figure out why I had made that choice, because as an eBook developer—as a CSS and web technology devotee—shouldn’t I also be a devoted EPUB user?

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Responsive eBook Content

Responsive design isn't just for margins and font size; here's one way to rethink content display for multiple reading devices

Joe’s post about graceful ebook degradation inspired me to share an example of responsive content that I thought of while brainstorming with my ebook dev colleagues here at O’Reilly.

Much of the way authors present content is based on what they know is possible with the printed page. But the page has changed—it’s no longer the rigid, rectangular object it once was. It’s important to think about how best to present your content given these new boundaries—one of the key aspects being that these boundaries change. The same reader might look at your content on a large monitor at work, and then switch to her mobile phone on the train home.

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