UX Meets EBook: Usability Professionals Improve The Digital Reading Experience

Anne Kostick (Foxpath IND), Louis Rosenfeld (Rosenfeld Media, LLC), Victor Lombardi (Nickel), Whitney Quesenbery (WQUsability)
Make Soho Complex
Please note: to attend, your registration must include Workshops.
Average rating: ****.
(4.14, 7 ratings)

A gathering of experts in UX and closely related fields will tackle both the well known and the hidden obstacles to true reader engagement on digital platforms. In preparation for the panel, we’ll assign and address UX issues in e-books. Each panelist will look at a different aspect, present his critique with plenty of visuals, and offer an idea for improvement.

The panel will include some unusual activities. Among them:

  • Use the audience as an on-the-spot test group to illustrate both how to engage in and how to evaluate user research data;
  • Demonstrate how game playing spurs new thinking and results;
  • Surface some famous studies of usability (or dumb decisions) as a brain kick-start;
  • Show short videos or slides of usability design testing;
    In other words, engage the whole room in solving UX problems in the digital-reading space, and help spark their own ideas about creating better e-books.

Although it may come to rest in a design track, I don’t see this as a design seminar. It’s really a mental-model elevator, in what has long been a blind spot in book publishing.

Industry producers both large and small recognize the importance of a good digital reading experience in attracting and retaining customers. Traditional publishers who have gone into online retailing can appreciate the business importance of customer retention, and the user experience directly influences customer retention. Now, possibly for the first time, publishers have the opportunity to market a good experience, along with a great story, or important information. UX research and design is critical to that experience.

Furthermore, book publishers resist ceding control of the reader’s experience to the device manufacturers; the more they learn about UX design the more control they can retain. And there is so much more to say, so much more work to be done in this area.

This session will be a valuable step for publishing people as they move forward with digital:

  1. They will get a look at the mental workings of UX professionals as they focus on e-books, and in a singular presentation.
  2. They’ll see how in the still-new frontier of digital reading the requirements of book readers bump up against the limitations of technology, and how the discipline of UX can develop workarounds or build overpasses.
  3. They’ll have some “good-better-best” takeaways in the form of printed materials that we’ll develop for the conference.
  4. This session offers a real application of UX expertise to the book industry—something that was never really necessary before the advent of digital—and that’s new and valuable.
Photo of Anne Kostick

Anne Kostick

Foxpath IND

Anne has been a partner in Foxpath IND since 2000, specializing in the transition to and from traditional content publishing and online content management, development, and publishing. Her clients include trade book publishers; technology and financial services Web sites; and arts and cultural institutions. Most recently she was Vice President and Editor-in-Chief for Dulcinea Media, an online publisher, where, in addition to managing a large editorial staff, she oversaw web production, content SEO, business development and audience outreach.

Previously, she held senior positions in licensing, product development, acquisitions, and electronic publishing with major trade book publishers, creating top-selling book series, award-winning children’s books, and innovative print-digital crossover products.

Anne’s semimonthly column, Digital Reading, discusses user experience and related topics in e-books. Anne currently serves as president of Women’s Media Group, a 35-year-old industry organization, and the advisory boards of the Publishing Innovation Awards and BEA Conference 2012. She is the author of several books for children and a definitive collection of jokes.

Photo of Louis Rosenfeld

Louis Rosenfeld

Rosenfeld Media, LLC

Lou Rosenfeld is an independent information architecture consultant for Fortune 500 corporations and other large organizations, and founder and publisher of Rosenfeld Media, a publishing house focused on user experience books. He has been instrumental in helping establish the fields of information architecture and user experience, and in articulating the role and value of librarianship within those fields. Lou is co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (O’Reilly; 3rd edition 2006) and the forthcoming Search Analytics for your Site, co-founder of the Information Architecture Institute, and a former columnist for Internet World, CIO, and Web Review. He blogs regularly and tweets (@louisrosenfeld) even more so.

Photo of Victor Lombardi

Victor Lombardi


Victor is the founder of Nickel, the TurboTax of financial plans. Previously he wrote the book “Why We Fail: Learning from Experience Design Failures”, co-founded the Information Architecture Institute & the Overlap conference, taught at the Parsons School of Design, the Pratt Institute, and Rutgers University, and contributed to the design of over 40 software and Internet products over the past 20 years.

Photo of Whitney Quesenbery

Whitney Quesenbery


Whitney is the author of Storytelling for User Experience and Global UX: Design and Research in a Connected World. A former theatrical lighting designer trained on computerized lighting control systems, she founded the usability consulting and research firm WQUsability. She is leader of the UPA Usability in Civic Life project, and serves on two federal advisory committees for accessibility guidelines for voting systems.

  • Publishers Weekly
  • Ingram Content Group
  • codeMantra
  • Impelsys Inc.
  • SPi Global
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Blackboard
  • Bowker
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Innodata
  • Jouve North America
  • MarkLogic
  • Newgen KnowledgeWorks
  • Océ North America
  • Temis
  • Aptara
  • Atex
  • LibreDigital
  • Media Services Group
  • MarkLogic
  • Smashwords, Inc.

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Sharon Cordesse at scordesse@oreilly.com

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