As mentioned in earlier posts, I'm reading a draft of a book. Thus
far it is excellent, and I've just read a bit that made me want to
post this. I'm not exactly sure why. Bear with me...
I started reading the draft on my computer and I got to around page 60
before realising that I just wasn't enjoying reading it on the screen.
I felt guilty that this was then stopping me from concentrating on
the story, SO I wrangled a print resource, and now am the proud owner
of a book, unusually formatted yes, but a book nonetheless.
And I am totally glad that I did. Cause there is an aesthetic with a
printed page that you just can't get on screen. I'm really enjoying
just turning each page, it gives you a sense of achievement and
anticipation with every turn. And then sometimes the words on the
page play a wicked trick on you. Like just what happened to me now:
I turned the page, immediately registered the salient narrative points
(NP), and then leisurely read through the paragraphs connecting them.
And it was great cause when I got to the end it gave a me a wicked
sense of deja vu as the last salient point clicked into place. They
lead in paragraphs...
NP: I DID
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, for me and I guess all of us
out there that were trained to read pages, the page is something that
we can and we do understand. I batch process written information:
each page is a batch.
This has made me think that computerised written information
inexpertly delivers itself in batch format. As more and more
information ends up on the web or as electronic documents, I expect
our conditioned response to page-like batch information to change. And
I further think that this is interesting because most of the ebook
readers are still trying to emulate the page, when they could probably
be more forward thinking and design for the time when the page is not
the way people are trained to receive information.
If I had to guess what I think this design concept might be I'd guess
the endless scroll, though I'm uncertain if this is a byproduct of
watching the Matrix once-too-often!
It is also interesting cause the page layout described above is the
result of two things:
a) the writer's attempts to lay out the story in a digestible way, and
b) the computer's attempts to logically paginate that story into an
These two things, over the course of a novel sized document, and
especially in terms of a draft, are in conflict. So it is almost a
fluke that the layout that affected me existed in the first place.
Does anyone else find that kinda creepy?
These thoughts have been brought to you in elongated non-paginated
scrolling form courtesy of RTB.