Designing an iPad or tablet publication is vastly different than say a printed publication or website. A traditional publication’s affordance is the paper, it’s tactile texture and feel. Touch the paper and you understand that you can turn the page. On a website, the mouse pointer is the affordance which allows for much finer interactions and cue points on screen, we also have rollovers that offer what an object on screen will do when moused over.
Touch on a tablet offers none of these but uses something we all have, our fingers and that’s great but our fingers are little bigger and fatter than a mouse pointer. But the best thing about touch is the ability to directly interact with the objects you’re seeing. Being able to swipe through photos or tap on a video becomes the rich experience people are loving with a tablet device. Digital objects have almost become physical to some extent.
Here are some key recommendations to get you started when considering elements in your publication and how they will look on device:
Icons, buttons and interactive elements should be 45px minimum in height and width. The icon or graphic itself could be smaller but not too much smaller but the exclusion zone (actual touch point) around the icon is important and this should be a minimum 45pixels.
When placing button/elements into your magazine/book try to leave quite a bit of space around it. This will allow the button to stand out and be clear. The less clutter the better! Like you would with a logo, you should give your button room to breath.
Invite touch but provide them with familiarity and consistency throughout your publication. This comes back to way-finding which we discuss in navigation and way-finding section of this guide and defining a consistent approach to the publication’s experience.
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