eBook and Website design considerations

In another project, I’ve been producing iBooks. The eBooks have video, which had to be close captioned, and posed a problem. When I added the captions, the video file format meant that the files were huge. This, in turn, made the iBooks huge. One book was 1.5GB (actually, it got to 7GB, but the iBooks Store won’t publish anything over 2GB). One of the solution to this problem is to stream the videos from YouTube (or somewhere else) rather than to embed the videos. This requires a trade off – to view the video clips, the reader needs to be online. If you are using a data connect, this can get expensive (I will need to figure out how this works).

I polled the physicians in attendance at the Faculty of Medicine Fac Dev day – there were about 50 people there. Overwhelmingly they preferred the streaming option to the embedded option.

Why does this matter? Because as I add more and more videos to the ipad-fm.ca eBook, the larger the eBook will get. I’m already finding the eBook to be bigger than I’d like.

So, I explored embed options. I began with Bookry.com, but found their widgets to involve too much advertising. I really disliked the look of it. I tried iAd, but I couldn’t get it to accept a video URL, only an embed video which defeats the purpose. I tried iboosgenerator.com, which was free, but the quality of the videos streamed was horrible – the pictures were fuzzy. I tried Bookwidgets, which presented a nice widget – with good quality. I was ready to purchase a licence, but didn’t know which one I should buy. It is confusing because I’m the sole producer, but I am producing as a consultant, but all my clients are educational institutions. Their models didn’t line up with my use case, so I emailed them. They kindly gave me a free license since my primary use was for my PhD Thesis project – that was really kind of them.

So, I shall use BookWidgets (they also have a bunch of other cool widgets – I will be replacing the quiz widget with their widget, but I need to ask about accessibility needs in their widget.