iBooks and interactive books in general - your preferences

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by theSeb, Jul 2, 2012.


Interactive books: What is more engaging?

  1. Video tutorials are great

    1 vote(s)
  2. Interactive HTML content is the way

    0 vote(s)
  3. A 50/50 combination of the two

    2 vote(s)
  1. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    A quick and simple pool to gauge people's opinions on what they prefer.

    Imagine you're reading an interactive book written to guide you how to do something on a computer. Would you prefer video content showing you how to do things step by step with call outs and instructions or would you prefer a more interactive experience where you have to click on parts of the screen to show you the step by step process.

    My main concern: would watching video tutorials get boring or is it better to involve the user more with interactive HTML content?
  2. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    I think video tutorials are great when it comes to learning how to do certain things on a computer.

    A great example of the potential of iBooks is Paperless, the iBookstore "Book of the Week", last week. Written by David Sparks, an attorney who writes about Macs and productivity on his blog where he also has many free screencasts.
    I think he also does a weekly podcast?


    I think this book is exactly what you are talking about as it includes many screen shots but also around 90 minutes of screencasts. The book was created in Apple's iBooks Author app, but he said the restrictions on layout (for his design) make the book look much better in landscape rather than portrait.

    Minor drawbacks:
    The book is 800+ MB (because all the included screencasts.)
    There is no iBooks reader on OSX
    I'm not sure if this book works on an iPhone or iPod touch, maybe just iPad? (not that I'd read this type of book on that tiny screen.)

    If you are interest in seeing the potential of iBooks Author, buy this book for $5.
    Of course the book is incredibly useful itself, covering Mac and iOS scanning, PDF, OCR, and automation. He covers almost every popular Mac apps and iOS apps relevant to a paperless workflow.

    PS I'm not affiliated with him, I've just found his productivity blog posts and screencasts useful, so I bought the book, which I found to be incredibly informative.
  3. theSeb thread starter macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Thanks for the thoughts. I'll take a look at this for inspiration. I know what I want to write about; how to present it is another story.
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    It depends on the length of the tutorial.

    Videos work great for small tasks, but if the process you're trying to teach involves a lengthy set of steps they will be forgotten by the time the video is over. That's still a risk with an interactive tutorial, but at least going through the motions (literally) will be more memorable.

    You also need to consider whether someone needs to access just a part of the tutorial; perhaps they remember the general sequence but can't remember the menu item in an intermediate step. Random access is easy with step-by-step interactive tutorials than having to scroll through a video.

    good luck,
  5. theSeb thread starter macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Thanks, I see your point. I am planning to have short videos on the specific chapter / section that is being discussed. Ideally I would like to keep the videos to around 1 - 2 minutes each to show how to do it. Those interested can read the text for the details.

Share This Page