THE ANTICIPATED REALITY OF THE HARDCOVER BOOK — INTERACTIONS ON A MICRO-LEVEL
What is your all time favorite novel? What genres do you prefer to read over a cup of coffee and some freshly baked brownies? Perhaps this simple question triggered feelings of warmth and happiness within you as you imagine yourself sitting by the window or in your favorite spot around the house, flipping through the pages of the good old hardcover books. Stay there in your happy place with your eyes closed shut and reminisce the smell of each page, the feel of the spine in your palms and the weight of the book in your hands. Do you feel content? I hope our answers and thoughts match because the feel of a hardback physical book belongs to the category of experiences many agree can never be replaced or eradicated.
The idea of a hardback book was revolutionized when the physical book was converted and made available as an e-book, changing the way authors used the medium to connect with their audience. An e-book allows the reader to simply ‘adjust’ elements such as the size of the font (typography and typefaces), the layout of the book, the mode they prefer to read in and other specific settings to enhance the user experience. What made the e-book interesting and desirable was not just the parent technology that birthed it. In fact it was the scope of interactions that came along side the eBook which made it innovative and revolutionary.
Interactions enable design to become more user centered as the focus shifts from simply establishing communications to building and creating meaningful experiences. How does the e-book enable people to enjoy and indulge in reading? The tapping, swiping and pinching affordances (among many others) eventually enabled the new book to become much more ‘engaging’ and ‘responsive.’
Suddenly the existing cognitive paradigms, perceptions and experiences attached with the regular good ol’ paperback began to undergo alterations and the new book form held open yet another door to the digitalised future.
The idea behind the discussion is not to weigh out the differences between the two frequently used forms of the book. Rather it is to understand the affordances each medium offers before we begin to design for the user — our user. The field of design has over the years experienced an overall shift as the designers now begin to work for the betterment of the users’ experience instead of just enhancing the mode of communication.
Digitisation and the inevitable access to internet simply means that the design and technology that are introduced need to be more responsive and interactive with well developed Human Computer Interactions HCIs since we have become so contingent on the computer or the technology carrying out tasks for us.
As a designer or better yet, as a craftsman, it is now essential to always be aware of how people view their content based on the way they interact with technology. Design and Craft together can go well beyond the medium of communication and into the realm of enhancing experiences.