From Book to App: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Here are Senior Graphic Designer Danielle Carnito’s thoughts about transforming Journey into the Deep from a book to an app.

The goal of design is to communicate clearly in a visual way no matter the format. So, when an opportunity arises to rethink how content is best organized for a new media format, this is GOOD.

This rethinking brings other GOOD: reworking a layout gives you the delightful opportunity to revisit elements you may not have been so happy with initially. I may have possibly mentioned before that don’t always appreciate folios (page numbers) in a design. As it turns out, page numbers in this app were extraneous! It’s a whole different world of navigation than just turning a page. There’s scrolling, tapping, double tapping, gesture up, gesture down, to the right, to the left. A hokey-pokey of appiness. A maze of pages in which page numbers would have been more confusing than helpful. To solve the navigation, I made new octopus and bubble-shaped navigation buttons to take you places you want to go in the app. GOOD.

The software I used constrained our app to a certain way of navigating. It’s mostly intuitive, but not always, so I added the GOOD navigational instruction page to help viewers understand what all the buttons were for. GOOD is how I felt after finally getting all of the interactive buttons working.

NavPage spiffy new navigational instruction page

Losing the endsheets was BAD. I loved the critter-only endsheets that invite you into the printed book. (Endsheets are the pages that attach the book’s pages to the case, or cover, of a hardcover book.) Alas, I moved on. BAD was the realization that getting a large index to work without page numbers isn’t plausible (yet! the app world is evolving, readers!). Also BAD, having to separate one file into 18. Each chapter had to be in its own very rigid file structure with all supporting photos & elements within. This added quite a bit of unexpected time to the development process. I should point out I used beta software for this… the software is still in the works and will no doubt become more streamlined with time. The software itself is NOT bad! Just evolving.

UGLY . . . a certain fruit-themed business’s multiple layers of forms and approvals aside . . . there’s not a thing about this would I consider ugly. A learning process, yes, but not ugly. The book was a joy to layout the first time, the second was the same. However, the photo researcher who had to redo the longest photo acks in our company’s history into a completely different manner of organization may just disagree with me.
And this critter. I’ve always thought this critter was pretty ugly: