Infogrid Pacific-The Science of Information


Images and Rich Media

Unit 1 covers issues for the use of images in e-books and audio and video production AKA: "Rich Media". Various issues are covered in this unit from reference tables on what formats go where, how to get the best quality and filesize from your media files for your target audience, and tricky stuff like interactive SMIL audio books. Updated: 2012-08-20

Unit Overview

With digital content publishers can move from the two dimensional world of print to the four dimensional world of digital content. Images, rich media, animation and presentation controls activate these new dimensions.


Images are often a significant part of the content for a wide range of book genres. The articles in this Unit address both existing and new and emerging opportunities that HTML5 and CSS-3 bring to media in e-books. It addresses specific production requirements for covers, various image formats, positioning, reader limitations and problems, and much more.

CSS-3 and SVG have significantly changed how images can be used as both content and as a resource to enhance your content. Add to this the ability to use of Data URIs in the CSS or HTML (and Javascript if used) for icons and logos and reusable files.

ePub3 supports pages as images and SVG without any HTML framework in addition to flowing text pages. This is something publishers need to get their head around so they can make the decision when to use media pages.

It remains to be seen how well supported these features are in various ePub3 reading systems, but given the state of major rendering engines such as Mozilla Gecko, Webkit and Trident there will be no excuses for reading systems to not supporting all features to the international browser standards unconstrained by the conservative nature of the IDPF Specification.

Image accessibility

All content images in any ePub3 should be accessible ready. ePub3 has become the defacto replacement for the DAISY accessible format and all publishers should be aware of this. This aspect of ePub3 has yet to become a standard consideration in production of front-list digital content assets. Even with an image heavy book the editorial work effort overhead is minimal.

What defacto accessibility means is with minimal effort EVERY ePub3 file can be accessible right off the shelf.

If you are a larger publisher with extensive Asset Management resources; does your Asset Management System allow the creation, editing, preservation and inclusion of "Alternative text" for inclusion into ePubs?

If you are a smaller publisher ensure that your alternative text is a part of your editorial strategy. You can advertise and promote the fact. It will work whether the reading system uses Text To Speech (TTS) or Media Overlays (SMIL).

IGP:Digital Publisher has the tools to make it easy to create fully accessible ePub3 files right from importing a document manuscript or at any other time in the production workflow.

Making image accessibility a default digital content production strategy is straight-forward, smart and a business driver.

Rich Media

Audio and video are useful content tools for the publisher to add value to standard content. They can also be the core e-book content.

Support for audio and video in different reading systems, platforms and browsers is different primarily because of proprietary business strategies. This Unit gives you the information to plan your rich media business strategy.

International drivers such as YouTube have demonstrated that sub-titling increases the value, usefulness and accessibility of moving pictures. WebVTT is a specification that allows captions, subtitles and other information to be inserted over a playing video. Unfortunately no rendering engine supports this fully or interoperably at present so Javascript must be used. There is more information on this in the articles.

Audio is also an assistive technology when used well and can convey information and entertainment experiences. Whether a reader is using text to speech, or it contains processed narrations, IGP:Digital Publisher makes it as easy as it can be to produce the required rich media outputs. Media Overlays are specifically addressed in depth.

This unit covers the device format limitations and production techniques required to get your rich media enhanced digital content everywhere.

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