by Joseph T. Sinclair
This is a short list of potential interactivity and rich media implementations. Keep in mind that you don’t want to reinvent anything. Software development is too expensive. Instead use what someone else has already invented.
HTML5 Enables the integration of interactivity and media into webpages. HTML is the basis of many systems and services for building book apps. You don’t have to be a programmer to use it.
Authoring Software Authoring programs enable you to integrate interactivity and media into text. Adobe’s InDesign is an example.
Authoring Services There are services that you use online that provide the same capability as authoring software. Andromo for Android apps is a good example.
Preprogrammed Functions You might think of these as extensive and complex code snippets (blocks of code) that provide functions for interactivity and the use of media as well as general programming. They have the characteristics of snippets, but they have much more code. Indeed, some may even be small stand-alone programs. You can find these functions various places on the Web, you don’t necessarily have to be a programmer to use them.
Online Services Online services that provide a medium, an interactive function, or general programming can be integrated into text pages via hyperlinking. Google Maps is a high-powered example. But there is much available both simple and complex. However, they don’t work when the viewing device is not connected to the Internet.
Stock Media There is professional stock media widely available inexpensively on the Web for most media, particularly art and music. Spend a little money and get something real spiffy.
Templates Many authoring programs and services feature a template into which you place your content. This makes creating a product easy but also puts a limitation on what you can create.
Databases It is interesting how incorporating database programming into diverse media can create amazing products. For instance, if you mark all the recipes in a book as to whether they are appropriate for the spring, summer, fall, or winter, you can create a book that shows only the recipes for the current season. How about showing only the recipes that provide a distinct garlic taste? This is perhaps the most overlooked technique of all, as database programming is not something that creative people warm up to. But it can be very creative.
Communication You can bring other people into a user’s book experience via email, chat, forums, social media, Skype, etc. These are all either Internet services or internal software that you set up and operate connected to the Internet. How about a novel with an online book club attached that starts once every quarter and lasts three weeks? The purpose of the book club is to discuss the book. This only works when connected to the Internet.
Streaming Media You can incorporate streaming audio or video into your rich media publication. Normally we think of streaming media as music, Hollywood films (digital video), or network video. It can be more, however. There is one online streaming service that provides sound effects for digital fiction books. There will be plenty of ideas tried for books via streaming media. It required a connection to the Internet.
Free Many digital assets are available free. For instance, there are many free fonts for you to use for digital text. Many are high quality and suitable for any publishing project.
Open Source There is a myriad of open-source software available. That means it’s free for you to use. For instance, there are several open-source word processors. They can import and export Microsoft Word documents. You don’t have to buy Word to fit it.
The author of this article, Joseph T. Sinclair, is the author of twenty How To books published by national publishers.
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©2014 Joseph T. Sinclair. All rights reserved.