Authorkburckha

eWeavers’ iBooks proposal for “What is Code?”

Maggie Zhao | Daryn Wright | Susmita Dey | Joshua Oliveira | Kathleen Burckhardt | Alison Strobel

The eWeavers’ vision is to create an ebook for “What is Code?” using the iBooks application and marketing it on that platform. We chose this platform because iBooks works on multiple Apple devices, including iPads, iPods, iPhones, and computers. The application can be synced across all the platforms enabling transition from one device to another. In addition, these devices provide multiple features, not only book reading. For example, you can have access to your music library on the same device that carries your books. This is something that cannot be done on a Kindle or other dedicated eReaders.

We believe that the subject of “What is Code?” attracts a particular reader, one that is interested in learning more about coding to better understand how it is used in a professional setting. The iBooks application is particularly appropriate for this type of audience with busy lifestyles because of its accessibility from different locations (work computer, iPhone, home iPad etc.). With this audience in mind, we will transform the original article into an ebook that informs and entertains, maintaining its colorful and playful nature.

From online article to ebook:
Our aim is to maintain the spirit of the original article. The playfulness of the article is its main selling point, and our primary goal is to maintain the integrity of the original article while considering ways of making it better – and more enjoyable to read – than the original.
Our goal is to create an epub3 file that will be more interactive and will allow us to include moving GIFs and functional videos.
The original Pandoc-converted file reads on iBooks as a scrambled, less-than-cohesive mass of information and photos – and all under a single chapter. Chapter headings appear at the bottom of the previous page – rather than at the true start of a chapter – or between paragraphs, appearing more as a long-form article (its original form) than a book. Enabling chapter splits and starting each chapter on a fresh page will give the text room to breathe, and allow the reader to pause and absorb what she just read. In addition, the spacing of words and the alignment of paragraphs is inconsistent for a book. Put simply, we will make the text look like it fits in a book, rather than on a website.

There is also a problem with the way photographs are currently appearing. Most of them are left justified, which doesn’t always play to the strengths of the image or to the copy, particularly when the photos are small. It appears as if they were shoved aside and forgotten. We plan to amend this problem, and either place images center justified or create space for them within the text, as we see fit. We will also remove any images or graphics that don’t contribute to the book’s overall design or readability; the original imagining of the article was the right format for some of these graphics, but we find that they don’t necessarily work in this context. Another issue with the images is that they are not all automatically resized to fit the page or section, but instead some photos take up the whole page while others are small and hard to see. We aim to fix this inconsistency.

Design and style:
We value the importance of the design and original artwork and are interested in investigating how it relates to, and enhances, the article itself. This means we will incorporate elements of colour, where appropriate, and graphics into the body of our ebook. We believe this will maintain the spirit of the text’s playfulness. The overall presentation of the book is important to us, so we plan to spend a considerable amount of time working on the design and format.

Reflowablity:
We want to keep the epub reflowable, as is the default in iBooks. However, we intend to investigate the sizing of the pictures and the formatting of additional elements around the text so that the reflowable feature works well and maintains the readability of the book.

Table of Contents:
The book will feature a table of contents due to the text’s many subheadings and unwieldy length. To increase interactivity, and the ease of reading, the table of contents – main headings as well as the sub-headings – would link to the locations of their respective entries.
Moreover, having a TOC will also create a strong foundation for the form of the book. This will move away from the original long-form article style and give it the more traditional structure of a book.
We are also aware that the purpose the article serves is largely educational, and we feel that including clear chapters and subheadings will lend better to an audience that is looking for a clear answer to the question “what is code?”
In order to do this, we will split the document into individual chapters and then link these sections to the table of contents.

The pop-up question:
We plan to include the pop-up message that originally appeared at the beginning of the article as an epigraph. This will make the transition from website to ebook more apparent, and will contribute to the “bookiness” of the text as an ebook rather than as an article.
In regards to the pop-up side notes throughout the original piece, our goal is to use the epub3 pop-up feature to create a similar effect.
For the footnotes, our goal is to have them open up in a new window, so readers have the option to read them or not. This is less distracting than traditional footnotes at the bottom of the page and also lends to the appeal of the interactivity of the ebook.

Title Page:
The background on the original webpage for “What is Code?” is very colourful, something we believe works well with the dot com aesthetic. We plan to create a title page for our ebook based on these colours and the original typeface used for the title. This will act as a signal to readers that this ebook is, indeed, related to the online version. It is also a colour palette that is suitable for the content. Our initial approach to this will be to play with the html and see if we can create this colourful patterning. We might also look into the possibility of utilizing Photoshop if the html proves to be limiting.
Tasks:
We have assigned roles for each group member to research and test. While we each will be focusing individually on specific tasks, there will be overlap and support as needed. We plan to meet together as a group at least three times in the next two weeks to coordinate and discuss difficulties in person. In addition, we will work remotely with each other using email and Dropbox. These roles will be broken down as follows:

Text Formatting: Susmita, Alison, Kathleen

  • ­reflowable text
  • epub3 research
  • epigraph
  • table of contents
  • chapter & subheading breaks
  • chapter alignment and presentation
  • text wrap around images

Graphics: Josh, Maggie

  • graphs, tables, and footnotes
  • removing unnecessary logos, gifs, graphics
  • incorporating videos where appropriate
  • resizing images

Design: Daryn, Maggie

  • cover page
  • alignment of photos, graphics
  • colour framing in body of text

Projected timeline*:

Task Completed by
• gathering resources Friday, Sep. 18
• testing various readers/deciding on one Friday, Sep. 18
• finalizing division of tasks/overall focus Monday, Sep. 21
• draft I of proposal due Wednesday, Sep. 24
• decide on file format (epub3 vs. epub) Friday, Sep. 25
• draft II of proposal done Monday, Sep. 28
• removing unnecessary logos & graphs Monday, Sep. 28
• Submit final proposal Wednesday, Sep. 30
• cover page Thursday, Oct 1
• finish table of contents Sunday, Oct.4
• chapter, subheading breaks Sunday, Oct. 4
• epigraph Sunday, Oct. 4
• reflowable text Monday, Oct. 5
• pop-up footnotes Monday, Oct. 5
• alignment of photos, graphics Monday, Oct. 5
• colour-framing in body of text Monday, Oct. 5
• inserting videos, where appropriate Monday, Oct. 5
• report/documentation draft I Monday, Oct. 5
• testing of eBook on Apple platforms Tuesday, Oct. 6
• finished final written report Friday, Oct. 9
• presentation preparation Saturday, Oct 10

*Note that this timeline indicated due dates for tasks but most tasks were started in mid September that are “completed by” early October.

Project Proposal – E-weavers

Proposal – Draft 1

Written by the e-Weavers
Kathleen, Daryn, Susmita, Josh, Maggie, Alison

The e-Weavers plan to create an ebook for iBooks, which is an application that works on multiple platforms and is more interactive than a Kobo or Kindle reader. Our group-specific reason is that we each have this kind of device so we can test out the ebook ourselves.

Our aim is to maintain the spirit of the original article. The playfulness of the article is its main selling point, and our primary goal is to maintain the integrity of the original article while considering ways of making it better than the original. We value the importance of the design and artwork and are interested in investigating how it relates to, and enhances, the article itself. This means incorporating colour and graphics into the body of our ebook. We hope this would bring out that original playfulness. The overall presentation of the book is important to us, so we plan to spend a considerable amount of time working on the design and format.

Type is important. It needs to be resizable and readable, but preserve the design of the individual page and the piece as a whole. We realize this might be the role of the ebook reader, not a direct function of the ebook, but we want to be sure that our document can be resized by iBooks. We want to explore whether or not it is beneficial for us to make the book reflowable or not; if we do, is this going to make the format too flexible and changeable, or will it increase interactivity? This shouldn’t be the most time-consuming of our projects, but will tie into our design process and our discovery of iBook’s many capabilities.

We plan to include a table of contents because of the article’s many subheadings and the unwieldy length of the article as a book. This way, readers can jump to whichever section they want to read right from the table of contents. The book will be organized by chapters and subheadings, creating an organized structure important for readability. We are also aware that the purpose the article serves is largely educational, and we feel that including clear chapters and subheadings will lend better to an audience that is looking for a clear answer to the question “what is code?”

It is our goal to include the initial pop-up message in the article as an epigraph. We feel this makes a good translation from website to ebook. We are considering how we will treat pop-up footnotes throughout, and plan to spend considerable time on this aspect of the book to further set it apart from traditional forms and, again, maintain the original spirit of the work. These may become static footnotes, or if we can figure out the functionality of the pop-up, we would like to keep them this way.

 

The background on the webpage “What is Code?” is very colourful. We would like to create a title page for our ebook with similar colours and perhaps the pattern as well. This is both to attract readers to our ebook, as well as forge a stronger connection between ebook and website.

For practicality reasons, we will be removing some of the GIFs that won’t function on iBooks, as well as any other little images – like Twitter icons – that no longer have a place in our version. Our hope is to make the graphs and tables throughout the article readable and that they will contribute to the content in an educational way.

We also plan to investigate additional functions like videos and other interactive elements to determine if they will work for the platform we’ve chosen. Is an epub3 going to be a viable option for us? We plan to determine this in the next week, before solidifying our working timeline and planning the finished product.

We have assigned roles for each group member to research and test on our epub file. Our timeline for this research is to come to the table on Friday with specific information as to whether our initial plans are feasible given our project deadline. Once we further investigate our individual roles and responsibilities, we will be better able to come together and create a project that is cohesive and fully-realized.

 

Our initial work will be broken down as follows:

Susmita: Creating a working table of contents

Kathleen: Investigating graphs & footnotes; will these work with our chosen platform?

Alison: Creating the epigraph

Maggie: Work on interactive elements, including the capabilities of InDesign, and the possibility of making an epub3

Josh: Cleaning up logos, GIFs, things we’re removing

Daryn: Planning and conceptualizing our design (including colour usage and visual graphics)

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