How Reading a Book Looks Like
As technology and media move further into the digital sphere, the sense of touch is getting lost in the translation. And one of the biggest questions in media technology today is how the print book can be successfully translate into a digital interface—the eBook.
It’s a question of design; how can designers mimic the act of reading itself—the ones readers are accustomed to—on the tablets and eReaders flooding the market?
A Portuguese designer hopes to answer that with his project, ‘The Effect of a Book’.
Videotaping a pair of hands reading a physical book, João Machado hopes his project will launch a keener investigation into the gestures and movements that goes into reading a book.
Sure, there can never be a way to translate that physical page flip, and we can’t hold a tablet the way we clutch a book by its spine, but Machado’s video illuminates the smaller, unnoticeable habits people make while reading.
The question is, can this data be usefully implemented in designing an eReader or eBook? Is there a point to this, even? Must an eBook accurately translate its print cousin, or should it have the room to be a completely new form of media?
Scott Dadich, creative director of Wired magazine once said in an interview he found the ‘page flip’ animation common to eBooks an antiquated graphical quirk, and dispensed with it entirely for the lauded Wired iPad app. After all, we essentially interact with a tablet in a 2D environment, and Machado’s studied gestures revolve around a 3D product.
But if anything, Machado’s elegant video is an entry into the archive vaults of media, technology and their intersection. If one day we do move completely into the digital realm—perhaps not us, but our descendants—then we should document not just the antique products, but exactly how they’re used.
See the video here:
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