Your prescription for increased productivity and profitability
Hopefully you have had a chance to play with Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite using Adobe InDesign CS6 (preferred version). For the Single Edition version, once you get signed up with Apple, the creative process can be pretty straight forward. The end project you create with Adobe’s DPS tools can be viewed on the iPad and then marketed through Apple’s iTunes Store. Below are some tips to get you started.
Use Digital Publishing for Intent.This automatically puts you in RGB color mode with measurements set to pixels. Create Document Presets and Page Sizes for Vertical and Horizontal orientation. Create your own workspace by adding your favorite panels to the “[Digital Publishing]” workspace and save with a descriptive name. Consider adding panels for paragraph, character, and object styles as well as the script panel to your workspace.
A DPS iPad publication is all about graphics and interactivity. With this in mind, not enough can be said about the necessity for taking care that your images will display with wonderful detail and clarity.
1. Start with a quality image.
2. Resample once, only once; when you save your final image. Always start with the original image or a modified version that has been saved in a non-destructive format (such as Photoshop “PSD”).
3. If your image will be used in an alternate layout, save the image in a size that will work for both layouts. For instance, a banner might only be 120 px tall for your horizontal layout, but for the vertical version you may want to use a proportional size such as 168 px. For this reason your image might measure 952 px by 168 px (allowing for a 36 px margin).
4. If you allow an image to be panned and zoomed, you may want the image to be at least twice the size of the normal viewing size.
5. To allow for viewing on high resolution screens, you might want to consider providing a high res version of the image in a separate folder named “HR” and name the file the same as its corresponding low resolution image.
For all intents and purposes, if you have a quality image, sized exactly to fit the dimensions required by the viewing device, you can Save For Web from PhotoShop keeping the quality for a JPEG at 80. The problem I have seen with some users is they start with a not-so-sharp compressed image and then resize and/or compress this image even more. Remember, any time you rescale or resave an image using a format such as JPEG you are throwing away information. With each successive save, the quality of the image deteriorates.
Just as with goodies at a children’s birthday party, too much of a good thing can cloy your senses. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Be discriminatory in your use of interactive “fun-ness”.
Resample your video content to its intended target size for the page. It is not necessary to create a Play button.
Readability, readability, readability. Most professionals recommend a point size of 16 or larger for text with lots of white space (leading, as well as space between major sections). Use all caps with care and never use caps with a script font. Make sure colors for the text and background provide sufficient contrast. Avoid a text face with fine lines and serifs for reverse text (light color over dark background). Of course, there can be exceptions to the rule.
Name hyperlinks, slideshow objects, and buttons specific for their use to reflect actual content and state. A project can include a lot of support material and resources. Judicious naming can save a lot of time when you need to track down an object for updating.
Speaking of saving time, get organized and use scripts with presets, stylesheets, and templates. This can free up much needed time that can otherwise be used to refine your page designs.
Leave a 6-pixel margin on the right edge of all pages for the tablet scrollbar. You can do this by placing a guide or page object such as a black bar to allow for this space.
Don’t forget that with interactive elements such as multi-state objects and videos, you can preview interactivity using InDesign’s SWF Preview panel (on the Mac Shift+Command+Return). And for those occasions you don’t want to hook up your iPad just to preview a change or two, or verify how an overlay works, you can preview the page on your computer using Adobe Content Viewer. With the appropriate document open, select Folio Preview from the Folio Builder panel menu. It takes a minute or two for your folio to be built into a format viewable on the computer, but then it will pop up in the viewer when done. This can be a time saver when the iPad is not already connected.
Remember what you are creating for iPad is an application (app), not a book. Think in terms of advertisements or high-design magazine pages. Apple is known to reject apps that have little interactivity or are overly text heavy. “Books” should be created as EPubs, not apps. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t call your DPS ceation a “book”.