Reading through Girard's review had me categorizing and noting things I should be aware of moving forward in my work with iBooks Author. Sadly, I find that I'll be limited in more ways than I expected to be... I'm tempted to administer a System Usability Scale (SUS) to evaluate iBooks Author and see how well it performs. Either that, or I've been spending too much time working on usability studies.
Notes to self:
We must choose one of the existing templates since the option of creating a blank template doe not exist. I like this in that it will make sure I have everything I need, but it means we're going to have to edit an existing template to achieve the format of the templates we decide to use. Why does that make me think some concessions will have to be made??
"Apple needs to give users more control over what parts of the template they want to keep. Ease-of-use and control aren't mutually exclusive features" (Girard). Oh great. Sounds like a usability fail to me.
The given templates are quite dull. So, it falls on me and my group members to address that problem. Okay. Challenge accepted.
Font fail. The Available Means team has been thinking about creating a font hierarchy for our headings, body text, etc. Guess we can stop planning on options. And, what's this about limited bold and italic options?! Not cool. So, guess we're going to have to put up with Helvetica, Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet MS, Optima, Futura, or Gill Sans. Blah. There goes an interesting font for chapter titles.
Don't plan on being able to control vertical and horizontal layouts. This makes me wonder if I should just limit it to one setting, but I dislike that new limitation. I dislike Girard's finding that, "it's not possible to have the exact same text render nicely in both a single vertical layout and horizontal multi-column layout."
Don't place videos until the end. It cannot "be set to flow inside text boxes" (Girard). So it sounds like placing videos early on will only lead to frustration and later work. Video locations sound like they can easily get moved around, and anchors aren't a viable option to get them to stay where you want them.
"Videos aren't supported in vertical layouts" (Girard)?! Not okay.
Jillian and I discussed our love of white space when it comes to page layout options. At least we can easily adjust and customize the margins.
Style sheets can be designed and hotkey patterns are supported in iBooks Author. Good new about the style sheets: I'll need them to cope with the dull templates.
Interactivity sounds easy to incorporate. Interactive images! They just sound exciting, and if they're relatively easy to use, count me in.