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Tasty UX Design That Will Make Your Mouth Water

We are past the times of relying on printed magazines and newspapers to stay up to date with the world. We now have thousands of digital magazines, books and other publications available online. With digital publications now in such large quantities, and so accessible, it is important to give something to users to catch their attention.

Bringing interaction to digital publications really helps the user understand the the content they are reading and if they have a good experience while reading it, they will likely not forget it. I created a digital publication using iBooks Author to add interactivity and fun to my book. This is a book about ice cream recipes for homemade ice cream. I wanted this book to be something used at family activities or group activities of all ages. I wanted it to be fun for kids to read through the recipes and learn how to make the ice cream.

To create a book with interactivity you have to have some wireframes built, similar to a website keeping in mind functionality and user interface. I started out with sketching my cover image and title page. I then made some basic layout ideas considering the flow and consistency between pages.

I refined and changed elements more after these first sketches, but this is a great way to start getting things laid out while collecting assets. The assets I was looking for were colorful images, videos and of course GIFs. Making an interactive publication can tempt us to want to fill the pages with lots of animations and GIFs to really add some interactivity. It is important to be careful with this. These types of elements can be distracting or overwhelming at times if not used with a purpose. For example, the GIFs below are showing 2 of the steps to make homemade ice cream. They are short, simple and convey the message. This helps break up normal recipes where you just read or look at the pictures. It adds depth and variety.

I also used GIFs of the finished ice cream to add another layer of engagement. You can almost taste the chocolate that is being poured over the ice cream or the fresh ice cream starting to melt. It touches on multiple senses and encourages the user to want to try the recipes. You will notice that the ice cream cones GIF is very subtle. This is a great way to balance out a page with interactivity and also clear communication. Have something interesting on the page but not too distracting, especially if you already have other elements that need more of the users attention.

Depending on the type of publication, it is important to have the information organized well so users can jump ahead where they need to. Providing a table of contents is also very helpful. If the information is not well organized, the user most likely won’t spend a lot of time trying to sort it out. I organized my recipe book into techniques first so that the user can learn how to make basic vanilla different techniques. I called this sections “Master the Technique” and made the pages with the same colors and layout for consistency and also to help the user make the connection that these sections are for techniques. After the techniques I had several pages of recipes for the users to browse through.

Here are some examples of the pages:

These pages have other interactive elements that are important as well like simple swiping and tapping on different elements to navigate. The visual and interactive elements are creating an experience that is fun and easy. Sometimes following a recipe can be confusing and frustrating. By adding the text along with images, videos, GIFs, animations etc. it is very simple to follow all of the recipes and provides a good experience for the user.

Starting with the user in mind will guide you to make good decisions throughout the process. It keeps you focused on a main goal where everything else is just supporting it. My goal was that users would have fun and also be excited to make something that looks so yummy. I feel like I was able to accomplish that with this book and stay focused on the experience I wanted my users to have while making homemade ice cream together.

*Kristin Wankier is a student in the Digital Media program at Utah Valley University, Orem Utah, studying Interaction & Design. The following article relates to Mobile App Design Project in the DGM 2260 Course and representative of the skills learned.

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