Changes in ebook’s user interface

by Laisvunas on Wed, August 29, 2007  

The ebook First Book of Homer's Iliad in Classics Unlocked format has a new less cluttered and more usable interface.

Until now the pages of the ebook were by default displayed with all navigation of the website. There was a "Site off/Site on" button on the right top corner of the screen using which the reader could choose to display the page with or without site's navigation. There are no more site's navigation and "Site off/Site on" button in ebook's pages. Instead you will see narrow menubar on top of the screen with links "CU home" (Classics Unlocked home page), "Previous page", "Next page", "Advanced search" and menus "Ebook contents", "Page contents", "Links", "Simple search".

"Links" and "Ebook contents" menus were not present in earlier version of ebook's interface. To see ebook's contents the reader was forced to open the separate page. Now ebook's contents are displayed on each page. "Links" menu on each page contains two links: one to the page in Perseus website dedicated to the same verses as the ebook's page and the second one to the home page of Chicago Homer website. Of course, it would be better to link to particular pages, but Chicago Homer website does not allow doing it.

The menubar is fixed on top of the screen, so you can use it without any scrolling of the page. Fixed menubar is especially usable for navigating within long ebook's pages: you can jump forth and back between page sections such as "Basic Analysis", "Morphology", "Dictionary" instead of scrolling the page. (Menubar will not stay fixed for users of Internet Explorer 6 or below; within these browsers the menubar is fully functional, but it will scroll with the page and lack some small nifty features, such as changing color of downward arrows. If you are using Internet Explorer, please consider upgrading to Firefox or other modern browser — you will get better and safer browsing experience.)

One more change of ebook's user interface is being considered. It seems that for such projects as compiling ebooks in Classics Unlocked format it would be a great advantage to have paragraph commenting system, such as Commentpress. Commentpress is a plugin for Wordpress blogging engine, and that means that it is not possible to use it on the non-Wordpress website without substantial rewriting of the code. As soon I will have some time available, I will try to do rewriting of Commentpress code for use with ExpressionEngine, which powers our Classics Unlocked website.

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