Monday, July 12, 2010

More on eReader

What do you do when you read a book? The eReader, for it to emulate a book reading experience, should provide the user with the same or better experience. For example, as you read a book, you can tell at a glance how far you have read. Electronically, this "experience" can be simulated by displaying a progress bar, as I have mentioned in the previous blog. Here are a few more:

1. Several users to one reader.
When I was young my sister and I used to take turns to read a book. The reader should allow different people to open it (e.g. User 1, User 2, etc) and customize itself to that reader (recalling the book he is reading, where he has stopped, and what pages he bookmarked, etc )

2. Several books at one time.
If I had identified a few books to read out of the thousands in my archive, I would like to "place" those books in a CHECK OUT folder. It is like checking out the books in a library. Those checked out books could be seen as virtual shortcuts to the actual books in my archive.

3. Flipping pages.
Sometimes I like to flip quickly through a book before I decide I want to read it. The eReader should provide the user with a similar experience in an electronic way. How, I am not sure. (I can imagine iPad-like devices that are smart enough to display an image of the page being flipped. That's a cool factor)

4. Bookmarks and context-sensitive buttons.
When I bookmark a page, I want to flip back and forth between bookmarks and between the current page and a bookmarked page. This is where one could borrow some ideas from the Nokia phone's Top Right and Top Left context-sensitive buttons. Depending on what function you have opened on the screen, the button could mean "return to last read page" or "go to contents page". (The contents page could be the first bookmarked page)

5. Dictionary and thesaurus.
These are nice to have. If I could just highlight any word I read and see the meaning in a pop-up window, I would be simply delighted.

Do I want an eReader that browses the web? Or plays games? Or has a calendar function? Or does email on the go? Or has a built-in webcam, or skype, or Facebook? I think I already have enough gadgets to do all those things. I have 2 desktops, a smartphone, and (soon) a laptop. No thanks; I just want an eReader that increases my reading experience beyond what a printed book can do. If an eReader can turn reading into an immensely pleasurable experience, I believe many parents would be rushing out to buy one for their children.

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