While writing SD4 it struck me that I have a lot of experience making e-book formats for a very wide range of devices. We have been at it around the clock since 1999 after all. That analysis of devices by their features, behaviours, limitations and bugs is not something anyone understands intuitively until a lot of digital content water has passed by.
This references the earlier post on content type analysis for various format capabilities. Read this for more context for the chart. Simultaneous Design is a growing series and should be read in sequence.
I created this Format Selection Chart for people unfamiliar with the device quirk driven nature of the digital content production business, and to demonstrate that
all e-book formats are not equal in their capabilities. The outcome is a
Simultaneous Design decision matrix that can be referred while wrestling with the points, pixels, RGB's and CMYKs that are Simultaneous Design for Print and ePub.
The purpose of the chart is to look at the content for which you are creating a Simultaneous Design (SD), then look at the chart to see what capabilities the e-format will have to have based on various device capabilities. If nothing else, I hope this chart gives a clear indication of where SD effort will be required.
Click image for a larger view
This table/chart is a very real example of content that meets
format limitations. My fixed width blog cannot display this reasonably,
so there has to be a click to see larger image, option. The table is
948px wide and its readability will be borderline on many devices.
Format Chart Formats
Formats 1-3 are historical curiosities in many ways. OEB 1.1 has been superseded by ePub, MS Reader and Palm readers have passed the way of all hardware and unmaintained software. Into relative oblivion.
Formats 4-12. are the current crop of devices readers we are dealing with at present. I know there are more, but this is a general guideline for Simultaneous Design, not a format/device review.
Formats 13-15 are printable PDF formats.
- This is not a complete format / device round-up. It includes reader software and reader devices and primarily reflects devices of the day.
- Open source formats are included for completeness. For example, the presentation capabilities of Lucidor far exceed those of any commercial ePub reader formats including ADE and iBooks.
- PDF LbL is there because it was on my source chart. This is a special digital restoration format. LbL means Line by Line.
- POD PDF is not rated for colour printing here, some may disagree with this but generally it is too expensive for all but the most specialized work.
- All current devices get a no-no on interactivity because they do it so badly and create such a bad user experience it is almost disgusting. Lucidor is the only reader that has included a feature to make remote note links available as pop-ups at The point of reference. Brilliant. This is how we used to program digital content in the '90s.
- All current devices get a no-no on multimedia, because it barely works, is proprietary and everyone's idea of multimedia is dumping a proprietary, my format video into an e-book somewhere. Yeah. That's a digital future!