How we reimagined educational books for the digital age.
From 2011-2014, I worked at Inkling in partnership with publishers and educational experts to imagine the future of the book. In small teams, we translated hundreds of textbooks, cookbooks, and travel guides to the digital medium. I worked on titles such as Frommer’s Day by Day, Modernist Cuisine, Campbell Biology, and Megg’s History of Graphic Design.
In 2010, when Apple launched the iPad, everyone saw a revolution for publishing. At Inkling, multi-disciplinary teams came together to reconsider the textbook for a new medium. We asked ourselves, what would the book look like in the digital age? How would this era change the way we produce, buy, and consume books?
As a content designer and developer, I focused on the questions of the reading experience itself. What were the differences in affordances and constraints between the physical page and the digital touchscreen? How should that, in turn, influence the fundamental ways in which we interact with a book? How can different methods of interactive help make learning more engaging? And what does good book design look like when it can shapeshift forms between a desktop, iPad, and smartphone?
During my time at Inkling, I worked on dozens of projects and hundreds of books.
Some projects would be highly curated design efforts for a single cookbook. In Modernist Cuisine, we included built in timers and shopping lists.
Other projects would be an effort to transform a dozens of books in a series. In Frommers Day by Day, we incorporated weather information and brought guided tours off the page and onto interactive maps.
Other times, I lead efforts to create a design system that would be scaled out to hundreds of medical titles. We would bring in interactive 3D models and self-assessments.
Each project was an attempt to push the idea of an interactive book further.