December 17, 2009

transitioning to all knowing digital

Ben Hammersley, who knows a thing or two about online and magazines, shifts the perspective a bit on the design challenge for e-books. Yes, it’s about the form factor of the device…but it’s also about the editorial and production workflow.

So a real design challenge for e-books isn’t to design the user experience (which is dependent at the end of the day on the device capabilities anyway, which are pretty much unknown) but rather on designing a system that would allow existing publishers to transition their operations from ramshackle print to All Knowing Digital. We already know much of this: you can take the lessons from blogging CMSs, add in photography handling from places like Photoshelter, combine metadata collection from sources like Google Maps and OpenCalais, and version control from Git, and you’re halfway there. Combine it with process changes, where you require writers to file direct to a system that forces them to add in metadata for example, and you’re closer still. Of course, in two sentences I’ve described a process that really encompasses the whole old-media crisis, but I do think it’s a challenge that can be met.

This post is part one of three; looking forward to the sequels.