Lord of the Ibooks

How I re-created “Lord of the Flies” as an interactive Ibook, using Ibooks author.

After getting my feet wet with re-creating an audiobook version of Frankenstein, I was ready to get started with an E-pub redesign. I was tasked to select a book that might need some re-amping in the world of E-publications a.k.a. Ibooks. I selected the classic, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding because I had read it in high school, and I remembered a good deal of what happened in the book. I had thought about doing another Frankenstein redesign, but after thinking about it, I figured I could come up with more creative interactive ideas for Lord of the Flies.

I decided to target young readers, mostly high school students and teachers. Students reading it for a high school class. This audience would need a deeper knowledge of the book. It will be easier for them to keep up with the symbolism and get to know the characters better while still keeping their interest with some of the interactive pieces thrown in. Instead of looking up all the information, it will be right there inside of the book for them to have at their finger tips

There is tons of symbolism in this book (nearly everything means something) and I thought having that having the symbolism explained throughout the story would enhance the readers experience. Along with character descriptions and a few significant places/things in the glossary to really add to the readers knowledge and have the book easy to understand and keep up with.

The first thing I did when I actually began redesigning was changing the metadata within the software, it didn’t include much, but it is one of the most important things to do, and I didn’t want to forget about it. Trust me, you wouldn’t want a nicely designed Ibook, then when you open it the title reads “Untitled.”

I kept the metadata straight to the point in the document. The title and author, “Lord of the Flies” and “William Golding”, pretty self-explanatory. The only thing I thought I would add was the keyword “Classic” because that is one definitive description of the book. I didn’t want to add, “Children’s book” or “horror” or something along those lines because the book is up for interpretation as to what kind of story it is. I didn’t want to give too much away.

I started out the actual visual design with the cover (even though later I realized you only get to see it for about 3 seconds when the book opens, or in a tiny view in your Ibooks library). After looking at some Lord of the Flies artwork, I decided to go with a pigs head, (The Lord of the Flies, if you know the story).

Cover art

I wanted the cover art to grab readers attention and also incorporate some of the book’s symbolism. So I made sure to have the pigs head, or “The lord of the Flies” and the boys eyes with Piggy’s specs (my friend said they reminded her of the glowing objects in the sand talked about in the book, so it could be up for interpretation). I wanted it show some preview of what happens in the book, but not too gory to turn my audience away, just bloody enough to grab their attention and spark their interest.

I kept a high contrast between the colors, and used a bold font to really grab readers attention. I added in blood spatter for a little bit of texture, and to get people curious if they don’t know what the book is about. I worked on a few different variations before coming up with the one I ended up using.

Variations of the cover, trying to incorporate the conch shell

I created the rest of the chapter artwork, and a short animation in the same haunting style to keep with the theme of the book, and add consistency throughout the publication. Because we had to create 16 pages overall, I picked two chapters that had a lot of symbolism, to include. The first one was “Painted Faces and Long Hair.” which is the second chapter in the book, where the kids start adapting to life on the island. The second chapter I selected was “A View to a Death.” which is Spoiler Alert the chapter Simon dies.

cover art for the selected chapters

For the interactive pieces, I wanted things that would enhance the readers experience and help them understand what was happening in the book. While also giving them some cool visuals to keep them entertained. To accomplish this goal, I included some audio of the boys chanting

“Kill the pig. Slit her throat. Spill her blood.”

to give the reader an auditory experience to go along with the book. I think it makes the story seem more life-like and creepier. Then I created a short animation using Hype, to add as a visual. It is the pig head on a stick with flies buzzing around it matching one of the descriptions in the story. The gif plays automatically, but the flies are very slow and it is a longer animation that loops, so the reader has some movement, but doesn’t distract them from reading. I included pop ups explaining the symbolism in the book, using little PNG flies to let the readers know where to tap. The last thing I added were glossary terms of the boys, who they are, and the impact they have on the story. Some boys had more explanation if they were important — Ralph, Jack, Simon, and Piggy. While other boys got their names, and the relationship they have to other characters, so the reader has an easier time keeping all the boys straight.

Once everything was finished I tested the product on my Ipad to make sure everything was working correctly and looked nice before submitting it as a final product. At first I had some trouble previewing my work on my
 Ipad, I couldn’t figure out how to link my Ipad up to the preview setting, it would only list my Mac as a preview port. As a work around, I would export ePub and airdrop it to my Ipad to look at. Everything ended up working out. I had to send a few different copies and keep on updating the artwork to make sure there was no pixelation. The cover was the hardest part to inspect during the testing, because it moved so fast.
I wanted to see how the interactive features would look on my Ipad and how certain areas of text would look. So I made sure to look closely at each interactive element during the testing. Then fix any problems as soon as I noticed them, then update again and so on until I was satisfied. I decided to space out the parts of the story that have a lot of dialog, make it easier to read, they do that in print books so I thought it would work nicely.
The last thing I wanted to check was the glossary, and how it would link up to the bolded names from the story. I was surprised by how much I liked it. I think this adds that extra touch to inform the user and help them learn how all the characters are.

Throughout this project I learned the importance of trial and error, and sticking with something until you make it how you want. There were a lot of features about Ibooks author that were challenging, like artwork or videos not going in the spot I wanted or text getting moved in places I didn’t like. But I stuck with it, overcame most of the battles between me and the software. And if I couldn’t make it work, I just decided to roll with.

I’m proud of the book I made and the art I put in it. I would to have liked to added some more, and possibly added in some chapter synopsis’ but other than that I like the final product. This project was more challenging, and taught me how to use some new software, but for some reason I just didn’t like the creative restrictions the software created. It seems like there would be no limits, and then there are huge ones. Although there were some pitfalls, there were also some things I really enjoyed, like the chapter art and coming up with the interactive features to put in.

Trial and error, and error, and error, and then success.

Brittany Keller is a student in the Digital Media program at Utah Valley University, Orem Utah, studying Interaction & Design. The following article relates to (E-Publication redesign project) in the (DGM 2260 Course) and representative of the skills learned.