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31 - The Pros & Cons Of The Various Interactive Types In InDesign CC


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Jimmy Ye - 2 months ago

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So it's Pros & Cons time. Which interactive delivery system is going to work for you? So there's three to pick from. There's Interactive PDFs, there is going to be something called Publish Online, and then there's going to be EPUB. So those are the kind of three main groups at the moment. They all have pros and cons.

So why is an Interactive PDF good? It's great because PDFs are very generic. Unlike in EPUB, you have to have an E-reader. PDFs, pretty much, anybody can open them. It means you get to save them, upload them to your website, people can download Interactive PDFs, which is handy. PDFs are the only format you can have any sort of security. You can add passwords to them, you can email them. And what can you do in them? You can-- here's an example here. I can click on this navigation. Easily make kind of a non-linear navigation. You can jump around this document, where you like. If I click on this web link here, it's going to open a website. The same here, I can do it for email. Now if I click on this, it's going to open my email client, with an email ready to go.

What they're also really good for is as replacement for PowerPoint presentations. Say you've got some good skills in InDesign, but you hate PowerPoint, you can use this like PowerPoint, where you can make it-- you can force it load full screen, automatically. And also what you can do is Page Transitions. So I can move back and forth, it's pushing and sliding. You can do all sorts of PowerPoint style Page Transitions. Like that ugly one there called Cone.

Now one of the big cons for Interactive PDFs, there's lots of things you can't do. You used to be able to do video, but there's some Flash upgrade problems now so you can't do video for them. And with these transitions, they only work in full screen so you can't do this lovely page transitions when it's kind of in this queue here. The other thing is that this requires Acrobat Reader. Most other PDF readers will have things like transitions allowed, and there's some navigation but not all of them. If somebody has got something installed on their machines that is opening their PDFs that's just really old, or not very good, you can't guarantee these are going to work. Especially on mobile devices, but it's no big deal, people don't see the transitions, it will still move to the next page, but maybe not as fancy. And if you're going to use this as say a presentation tool like a PowerPoint presentation, like I do quite a lot of the time, the trouble is that people can't adjust it. Because it's PDF, it's kind of stuck and fixed. Unless the person knows how to use InDesign, they can't adjust it. So be careful if you do decide to go and use this as a PowerPoint presentation. The poor person that you sent off this presentation can't easily update it.

So that's what we can and can't do with Interactive PDFs. We'll look at how to actually physically do it in the following video. Now let's look at Publish Online. So Publish Online is-- it's got a really boring name but it's my most favorite kind of delivery system. We learnt in Interactive PDFs, there's lots of limitations to it, whereas Publish Online has lot more freedom. There are some cons, but let's look at it now.

It's this button here you've been avoiding. So once you click it, you upload your interactive InDesign document to a website, basically, you get to view it, let's check what it looks like. So this is what it looks like. I'm going to refresh the page because I want to show you the sweet animation that can happen. So, that fades in, that slides in my navigation, although very slow, appears in the page. So let's have a little look. Your navigation can work, like in the Interactive PDF, animations can't happen in PDF. Let's scroll down, let's go to some of the more interesting pages.

So, some of the other things you can do. First one was, obviously animation. The next one's going to be video, you saw it there. So you can do full on video awesomeness in Publish Online. You can add YouTube videos as well - I'll stop him playing - let's have a look at some of the other pages. This one's quite cool, they're called Multi State objects I can click on these, and just toggle through them all. To pick different kind of wood types, I'm going to go to the next page and this one here, so these animations, see, if I click on this button, here you can have Trigger or Button controlled animations. Let's have a look in the next page. You can have elephants walking across your page, very useful. So that is animations brought in from Adobe Acrobat CC. You can just dump those into your Publish Online.

Next thing we're going to look at, is you can have Interactive Maps. I love this. Publish Online has probably the most robust delivery system. All it is, is you give people this link and you say, "Visit my company newsletter," and they go to that link, and they can see exactly what I just showed you here. Now, its other pros is that its link can be updated. Say I spot a typo, or I want to add an extra column, or an extra page, I can do that from InDesign, and just update this page here, and it just means that I don't have to go and change the link, it just means that the content updates. Probably my most favorite feature is that it has some analytics bit into it. So as part of Publish Online you get a Dashboard, so I can see that this document's been viewed 26 times, the Average Read Time is 13 minutes, the Total Read Time has been 5 hours, and people have been viewing that on Desktop mostly. So that kind of information obviously can't happen with print. And because you are distributing digitally it's amazing to be able to kind of see this sort of information to kind of work out whether this works for you as an option. You can come in here and say, nobody's reading it. We'd like people to read it, and you've put a lot of effort into your magazine, but if nobody's reading it, that's fine, but at least you know, and you can start comparing months. So you might have your January and your February edition, and you can kind of see what was the Total Read Time for both of those compared to each other, what are their cover stories getting read, what pages are getting read? Do I need to make a specific mobile friendly version of it?

Now what are the cons? That means that people need to watch this through internet so they need an internet connection. One of other big cons is that some people don't like that it's hosted by Adobe. This thing here, has to be hosted by Adobe. So that's just the way this works, they make sure it works but some people don't like it, not on their servers. So that's something that some people can't get around. What you can do though is you can embed it. So that means you can actually grab this code and make it look like it's from your website. Nobody viewing it will know that it's coming from Adobe but it will look like it's from your url, so that's the way around that. And I love it, that's why you should do it, that's the main reason, is that Digital Publishing is like, there was DPS and there was lots of like-- we're going to do effects with EPUBs and-- nothing's really quite worked yet, and I feel like this is the best solution. Just the web based solution. It works, it's great, it's easy, uses your InDesign skills, and it looks great.

Now the next option is Effects with EPUB. Now Effects with EPUB, we're not going to cover in this course because it can be its own gigantic project. And I don't like it as a distribution method because it just requires really specialized E-book readers. Basically you need the Adobe ones, called Content Viewer, and if they don't use that, things don't work. And that's a big kind of drawback for me. I'm like "Okay, so we've got this fixed with EPUB, so it's great, it looks nice. I can make the animations but the animations only work in one reader that nobody has." You can force people to download it, and use it. That's totally cool, you can say to the viewers, "You have to do it." Just, I find people won't do it. They'll use the built-in EPUB reader on their laptop which most laptops don't have, Mac has one built-in called iBooks. So open up in iBooks, but if you've got a Mac, have you ever seen iBooks open? It's kind of a weird thing to have happen, and you're like, "Well, what is this?"

So it's all a bit new in-- I don't know, I feel like you'll lose people there. iPads have it built in, iBooks, that's great, and some of the animations works in it, but in terms of Android or PCs, PCs don't have any book reader built in at all so it means when they try and open it, nothing happens. Also, if it opens up in like an Android tablet they have E-book readers, but actually I wonder if there's one there by default. So it means that you have to download one and it just feels like it's a distribution method. Text with EPUBs aren't that great. Sorry, EPUBs, I love you really, but distribution is tough. So, we've got Interactive PDFs which has-- which is great because everyone's got a reader, but there are some limitations. Just basic navigation, like this works great but I think the only real true distribution method at the moment is the Publish Online. So, check that out on our next videos. Let's get on with it.

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