Just been watching the rather interesting introduction to Ubimark’s books, which contain 2D codes for use on an iPhone which then gives access to interactive stuff like maps, comments, commentary and the like. Using amazon’s print-on-demand service, Ubimark reckon they can produce constantly updating printed works – adding a new 2D code for a particularly relevant user comment, for example.
This got me thinking about the relevance of this to the kind of guided literature Tim Wright’s been playing with on projects like Kidmapper. But it also got me thinking about what Phil Gyford wrote eloquently about on his post about the Today’s Guardian project, when he talks about reducing “friction” in the consumption of content.
There’s a lot of friction involved in a Ubimark book. First, there’s the book: printed on demand, and delivered through the post. Then, there’s the 2D scanning, requiring a dedicated app. Then, there’s the navigation around quite complex assets (maps, comments, photos) on a small screen.
And that of course is when I realised that I probably do need an iPad, after all. An iPad is a friction-reducing machine. It smooths out the kind of interactive consumption offered by Ubimark’s rather bumpy combination of technologies. And what digital media offers that print doesn’t is real-time learning within the content itself: comments and the like enrichen the material (indeed, even my consumption of it could do that), and the material responds.
Plastic content and frictionless interfaces.
So who wants to pay for my iPad, then?