App publisher Touch Press asked us to help them design and build a new approach to iPad reading for Skulls – an iPad-exclusive book by bestselling author Simon Winchester. As fans of their Solar System and Waste Land apps, we were very happy to help.
Having tackled multi-orientation iPad reading for our QI app, we were keen to do even more with the iPad's two different orientations for Skulls. Together with Touch Press, we created wireframes and designs for a new breed of book reading interface. The Skulls book reader operates in two different modes – text-focussed in portrait; illustration-focussed in landscape – yet maintains consistency in both text positioning and behaviour. It enables the reader to switch between a traditional book-reading approach, with interactive sidebar illustrations, and a coffee-table approach, with large illustrations from the fantastic selection of skulls and artefacts that Touch Press had collated for the app.
These interface designs were then refined and adapted as part of an iterative development process between Touch Press and Agant, to showcase Simon Winchester's text in all its glory. The end result is a beautiful, macabre and fascinating study of the skull in all its forms – and a great example of how reading can be brought to life on the iPad.
Skulls by Simon Winchester is available on the iTunes Store from Touch Press, priced at £9.99.
- Brand new book text from bestselling author Simon Winchester
- Black-on-white portrait mode, optimized for reading
- White-on-black landscape mode, optimized for display of the featured skull collection, with every skull spinning at the touch of your finger
- Exquisite 360º photographic rotations of over 300 animal skulls plus dozens of examples of skulls in art and popular culture