Submission by Gene Lu, Chiawei Liu (SVA MFA in Interaction Design, Class of 2011)
Our product is an e-reader similar to the shape and size of the Kindle. The reading screen is located on the front of the device along with a complementary display unit on the back. Built into the top of the e-reader is an eye tracker. With our e-reader, we attempt to address the four principles in creating a rich, digital reading experience. Please note that the idea of an ecosystem is mentioned throughout the other three principles below.
Utilizing eye-tracking technology built into the e-reader, the device is able to detect how far the screen is held with respect to the reader’s eyes. When the screen is held closer to the face, the type gradually reduces in size. If held further away, the type size increases. This feature supports the interstitial mode of reading. With type resizing to maximize legibility, users will be able to read in stop-and-go situations, such as standing on a crowded train or sitting next to someone on a bus.
E-Reader & E-reader Skin
When loading a story onto the e-reader, the display unit on the backside of the device will display the content’s book cover. This feature creates a sense of identity for the reader by communicating to others what book they are reading.
As with most digital products, the e-reader comes with accessories, in this case, e-reader skins. There is a wide range of skins that simulates the texture of whatever your preference may be. Perhaps an old, wrinkly, book feel for that story on the Civil War you’ve been catching up on. Or how about a soft, sandy skin for the picture book about Egypt? These various skins help support the e-reader’s ecosystem. With a huge variety of skins to choose from, customers will form a bond with their products through customization and differentiation.
Instead of tapping on a button to turn a page, your finger swipes the surface of the display. A visual representation of a page fold in the lower corner of the screen designates the area for the finger swipe. Unlike most systems that utilize swiping, this device has force feedback on the swipe. As you slide your finger from right to left to turn to the next page, a varying force would be fed back to your finger (refer to “Force of Gravity” vs Page Turn). This resistive force slowly increases until you go ¾ of the way through the swipe and then the resistance drops to zero. This simulates the same kinesthetic when turning the page of a book.
Our last sensual feature of the e-reader is the force feedback the device provides based on where your eyes are on the reading display. In order to create an engaging experience, especially for children, the e-reader would have varying levels of vibrations based on content, e.g. a book about lightning and thunder.
People can connect to other people’s e-readers by enabling their Bluetooth connectivity on their device. With this connection enabled, an e-reader can view other people’s shared libraries and download the books they are interested in. However, people (the Sharee) downloading content can only view the digital book once. When the digital book is closed and then reopened, the Sharee is unable to view the book again. The only option is for them to purchase the book from the online bookstore. This feature satisfies the need to share content at social events, such as book club meetings, without jeopardizing the profits of digital book publishers.
The idea of book sharing is incentivized by bookstores offering a small commission to the people that have books downloaded from their e-reader and then purchased at the online bookstore.
The online bookstore also offers customers their own personal online bookshelf where they can store their books and show others what they have been currently reading. A small commission by the bookstore also incentivizes this online sharing by readers.
After finishing a book, the e-reader connects to social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook and posts an update informing others of what you’ve just read. This opens up a few popular channels of communication for further discussion of books.
It is hard to read a book while we are moving (e.g. walking or standing on a bus). The e-reader uses “eye tracking” technology to let words on screen move in relation to eyes. This prevents motion sickness and allows for increased ease of reading especially when experiencing a bumpy commute to work.
When people read in bed, they would use a soft skin for their e-reader so that they can rest their head on it in case they fall asleep.
Thanks everyone for checking out our submission!