Book-Like Reader: Mirroring Book Design and Navigation in an E-Book Reader
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This paper describes our design of the Book-Like Reader, an e-book reader interface that mirrors paper books. This study focuses on the characteristics of flexibility and lightweight navigation in paper books. We consider the important requirements for navigation to be the control method, the behavior of paper pages, and lightweight bookmarking. By satisfying these requirements, the user can handle an e-book intuitively like a paper book. Our reader is capable of the same user-friendly navigation as a paper book.
We have developed a prototype (as an Android application) with an Android tablet, two force sensitive resistors, and a microcomputer board. The touch display and the resistors are sufficient to detect the input. The application visualizes e-books (consisting of image files) like paper books using an OpenGL ES. Our Book-Like Reader has the aforementioned characteristics of paper books.
KeywordsElectronic book Mobile device User interface Android application
As portable devices (such as tablets) become increasingly widespread, electronic books are becoming increasingly popular. However, these kinds of books do not offer the same advantages as paper books, such as flexible navigation and viewing multiple documents placed side by side. These functions have an important role in reading books. This study focuses on flexibility and lightweight navigation as two of the most important characteristics of paper books. By reproducing behaviors such as flipping, lightweight bookmarking, and tactile/acoustic feedback, we aim to obtain the same user-friendly navigation of a paper book on an e-book.
2 System Design
2.1 Requirements for the User-Friendly Navigation
We believe that the factors contributing to a user-friendly navigation in paper books are the following.
Behavior of Pages and Feedback. A lot of information can be obtained from the pages of a paper book. Flipping is accompanied by a sound as well as visual cues and sensory ones (touching/grazing the pages). The reader knows how many pages are turned judging by the thickness. Furthermore, using the same thickness, it is easy to tell how much of the book has already been read and how much is left (Fig. 2(a)). The thickness of the closed book is used as a criterion of reopening as a rule of thumb (Fig. 2(b)). All these pieces of information support flexible navigation.
2.2 Design of the Book-Like Reader
We propose the Book-Like Reader as a design of an e-book reader device and application, which has the aforementioned functions for mirroring the user-friendly navigation of a paper book. We chose tablet devices as the platform because of their sufficiently large size and the many built-in sensors for reproducing a paper book. Moreover, they use stripped-down sensors that allow maintaining the characteristics of e-books, e.g., the ease of carrying many books.
3 Implementation Prototype
3.1 Prototype Device and Application
The prototype of the Book-Like Reader device is shown in Fig. 6. As previously stated, as much as possible, the prototype is not equipped with additional sensors. Only two force sensitive resistors are attached to the back of the device. The sensors convey the detected values to the device through the Arduino board with a USB OTG host cable.
3.2 Detecting Input Method
3.3 Visualizing Similar to a Paper Book
Visualizing the Book Thickness. We developed a function to visualize the thickness of the e-book, similar to a paper book. When both sensors on the back of the device are pressed over a specified value (Fig. 10(a)), the contents area becomes narrow, and the thickness of the e-book is visualized on both sides on the display (Fig. 10(b)). This thickness is drawn at a fixed width to leave enough space to show the contents. The number of pages is indicated by the depth of gradation in the background and by the number of drawn vertical lines in the visualized thickness area.
Continuous Flipping Animation and Feedback. The Book-Like Reader performs flipping animation and gives feedback to the user when the two sensors are pressed over a given threshold and when one of the thumbs is swiped towards the outside of the display (Fig. 11(a)). The user is given feedback through vibration of the device and sound (Fig. 11(b)). Keeping the state that the thumb was shifted, the user can continue flipping. The flipping speed and the number of pages correspond to the detected sensor values.
3.4 Lightweight Bookmarking
Similar to a paper book, the Book-Like Reader can bookmark and enable turning to the bookmarked page with a simple action. The user can bookmark by tapping either force sensitive resistor twice. Moreover, the user can return to the bookmarked page by releasing the finger that tapped the sensor. As shown in Fig. 8, when the user taps the sensor twice, the values measured by either of the force sensitive resistors changes from a low value to a high value twice successively. The application remembers the page where this transition of the values was detected. Then, it returns to the page by using the decrease in the values as a trigger.
4 Related Work
4.1 Natural Interaction with a Physical Object Like Paper
Some studies obtained natural interaction like paper books using a physical object as an interface of digital content. The Listen Reader and Sequence Book consist of a paper book with RFID tags embedded in each page [3, 4]. Watanabe et al. developed an interface consisting of two thin plastic sheets for browsing content . Fujita et al. proposed a novel book-shaped device for flipbooks, embodying some physical features and e-book interactivity . These studies can give users a natural interface and can offer the advantages of paper books. However, many books cannot be carried as easily as portable devices can.
4.2 Obtaining Characteristics Using Additional Devices
Several studies obtained characteristics of paper books on portable devices using additional sensors or devices. Chen et al. designed a dual-display e-book reader, which supports embodied interactions like paper books . TouchMark  introduced physical tabs on each side of the device to enable gestures such as page thumbing and bookmarking. Izawa et al. proposed Flip Interface, which obtained flipping using two flip sensors that consist of multiple film-like capacitive sensors . These studies offer natural interaction easily. However, they only ensure a part of the characteristics.
4.3 Expansions of E-Books
There are several studies in which the e-book readers are capable of interacting naturally, in the same way as paper books. Yoon et al. introduced Touch-Bookmark, a lightweight technique for E-books . To use this technique, users can bookmark and turn pages to do simple finger gestures on a touch screen. Kim et al. designed a novel touchscreen interaction technique for lightweight navigation; it enables consecutive flipping to do a bezel gesture on a tablet . These studies enable lightweight navigation only with a tablet device. However, these techniques cannot be controlled as intuitively as paper books.
Our work has solved the aforementioned problems. However, the interface described in this study is not as natural as those that use a physical interface.
We developed a prototype of an e-book reader called Book-Like Reader, which obtains the same user-friendly navigation of a paper book using a tablet device and a few sensors. Our Book-Like Reader behaves like a paper book, and users can interact with it in a similar way. However, some characteristics of paper books have not been achieved, like quick navigation. In future work, we intend to improve the application behavior to make it more similar to paper books and more user-friendly. In addition, we intend to enhance our application so that it can handle major e-book formats, like epub.
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