Naruto Interactive E-Book
Client: "Naruto" is a property of Viz Media (Educational Initiative)
My Roles: Research, Design, Testing, Documentation
Length: January 2018 - May 2018
Audience: Fans of "Naruto, E-book Readers
Tools: iBook Author, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Illustrator
While there wasn’t necessary a problem, there was an opportunity to improve upon an existing product. The popular manga series “Naruto” by Masashi Kishimoto ended its run in 2016. After the main series, several companion novels have been released detailing other adventures in characters' backstories. While studying platforms for media, I had the idea of adapting one of the novels into an interactive e-book. With books becoming digital, it presents a way for us to enhance the reading experience in ways that print can’t achieve naturally.
With books becoming digital, it presents a way for us to enhance the reading experience
Being a fan of the Naruto series myself, I wasn’t worried about what content to include in the e-book, but I did wonder how I could capture the greatness of the Naruto manga in an e-book that was heavily text-based. After viewing some recent e-books for study (such as the Harry Potter series on iBooks), I found that images were included in e-books with slight animations to add a layer of immersion. I also reviewed the capabilities of iBooks Author several times to determine what could actually be done with an e-book. Researching the program capabilities was beneficial as it helped me to plan my interactive content so that it wasn’t front and center, but rather complimented the main content.
Researching the program capabilities was beneficial as it helped me to plan my interactive content
If you’ve ever used iBooks Author, you know there are a great deal of options to insert interactive elements into your iBook or e-book. With this e-book I chose to focus on three interactive elements which were:
1. Pop-up boxes - The pop-up boxes were a great way to display information for the reader on the fly, meaning that they didn’t have to stop reading and research, the information would be presented neatly and quickly so they can learn and carry on.
2. Animated Images - As stated previously, animated images are a great way to immerse the reader and give them a small window into the story. I used this element sparingly, only peppering animations through chapters so that it entertained, but again didn’t detract from the main content. Utilizing layers and Adobe After Effects, I was able to turn static images from the manga into animated areas for the book.
3. Glossary index - While a simple feature, it was a change to give the opportunity for the reader to read in more detail about the pop-up information. This feature would allow for existing fans to have some fun while educating readers who are new to the Naruto franchise.
Several versions of cover art for the book. Number 5 was used for the final cover
While the pages were coming together and looking enjoyable, it came down to the question of whether the book responded correctly when tested. During testing, I thought to myself, what devices do people use to read e-books? Most viewers use iPad and tablets, but some also use a mobile device. With this thought, I moved into testing the book on both an iPhone and an iPad. With the iPad, the book performed great with little to no bugs or mishaps, while on the iPhone, images and interactive elements were moved into places that made the design look sloppy, and in some cases, where elements wouldn't respond. With this knowledge from testing, I decided to focus mainly on iPad and tablet devices for the platform of the e-book.
You might be wondering, “What does an e-book have to do with UX design?” Well the plan was to create something that was fresh, and drove interest back to the Naruto series by utilizing a format that wasn’t website or app based. Overall, I was creating an immersive reading experience that could be applied to create new product.
What does an e-book have to do with UX design?
As this was an educational initiative, it didn’t affect the company of Viz Media directly, however after publishing my documentation on Medium, I garnered a great deal of attention including many people asking where they could buy a copy of the e-book. To this day, I continually have multiple views a week on the article and people expressing interest in an interactive Naruto e-book. With the excitement I received from others, I looked to attempting to contact Viz Media to present my idea, but have been unfortunate in finding someone in the company with whom I could share it. The Naruto story has continued in the new “Boruto” manga series, but I know that an interactive e-book of the novels could be a great product for the fan-base and one that people would want.
multiple views a week on the article...many people asking where they could buy a copy of the e-book...
What I Learned
This project was eye-opening for me, as it taught me that UX design isn’t just websites and apps. Its much more, and even then its not confined to a digital space. The process can be applied to many medium and platforms. I learned to not limit myself to web or native based products and to think broader in terms of what an experience can be. My learning of this furthered as I realized that manga in and of itself is an experience with user needs.