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Interactive Annual 19:
Tablets/Handheld Devices

The Future of the Book

Launch Movie

“IDEO's imaginative concept video examines the inescapable evolution of digital storytelling.”
—Dave Curry

“The UI is amazing. Please make this.” —Perry Fair

Overview: As more people consume pages in pixels, IDEO designers wondered why the analog page-turning model for consuming written words continues. They asked themselves, "What will happen when the reading experience really catches up with new technologies?" The Future of the Book is their answer. Through three personas, it explores reading on a screen and identifies new opportunities for readers, publishers and authors to discover, consume and connect in different formats. With "Alice," real-world challenges are an opportunity to connect fans with each other, outside of the book experience. "Nelson" enables readers to see what material is impacting a larger community. And "Coupland" provides readers with a constant stream of aggregated material.

  • • Steps included researching consumer behavior around digital and analog reading, discovery and storage; looking at inspiring phenomena, trends and business models within adjacent fields (TV, film, music, education); and finding patterns and formulating platforms.
  • • In “Alice”, tilting the device reveals secrets and creates game-like, real-world experiences; in “Nelson”, simple gestures bring up layers that encourage readers to debate and build on the content; and in “Coupland” readers can share great books with others by dragging any book to their profile picture.
  • • Future of the Book was awarded a 2012 Webby award and was a 2011 Core77 Award Notable. It has more than 623,000 plays and 4,350 likes (sources: Vimeo and YouTube).

Comments by IDEO

How is the experience of “reading” altered in this exploration? “Each concept features a simple, accessible storytelling format and a particular look and feel. We believe that digital technology creates possibilities, so our solutions truly adapt to the new environment, rather than emulate analog qualities onscreen. For example, we resisted any temptation to move books closer to the bite-sized character of other digital media, because long-form writing encourages immersion (deep reading) and reflection.
The first concept, ‘Alice,’ is a platform for authors to experiment with narratives, to allow their stories to transcend media and to engage fans in the storytelling process. It turns storytelling on its head by making narratives non-linear and participatory. The story world bleeds into everyday life with real-world events, like acting on a phone call from the lead character, and turns other readers into collaborators or competitors. ‘Coupland,’ makes book discovery a social activity by allowing readers to build shared libraries and hear about additional texts through networks, which helps to ensure that users are tapped-in to the latest essential content. Finally ‘Nelson’ connects books to commentary, critique and contextual information. Layers of connected commentary, news and fact-checking augment core content to provide greater context. It reinforces the role of books as carriers of knowledge and insight.”


IDEO (Palo Alto, CA), project design and development

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