Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Safari Books Online

I signed up for Safari Books Online today because I wanted to refresh my iOS skills with the latest edition of Beginning iOS 5 Development: Exploring the iOS SDK. The experience is however far from what I expected. Safari Books Online has been around for years and years so I thought they had figured it out and ironed out the rough edges with online reading.

The big screen reader is Flash based and it has a number of problems:
  • The text is blurry.
  • The pages are formatted for print, not for screen reading.
  • The scrolling speed is so fast it's almost not usable (at least on a MacBook trackpad).
The "mobile optimized site" is perhaps not so optimized:
  • The pages are shown as blurry images.
  • The text is so small it is barely legible.
  • There is no pinch-resizing.
  • The zoom function makes the pages just too large to fit in landscape mode on an iPhone 4.
  • The system doesn't remember where you left off, when you switch between the big screen reader and the mobile site.
And there's more:
  • Why aren't errors in the text fixed?
  • Why are links in the text not clickable?
Who said things are moving fast in our business? The IT sector is moving sloooowly.

But guess what, I'll probably become a paying customer just because of the convenience of immediate and ubiquitous access.
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