Great Digital Content Means Great Design

As with all great software products, there was a time when Inkling was little more than a pile of paper sketches and whiteboard doodles. When we set out to design it, we tried anything and everything, from elaborate 3-D maps to abstract landscapes of text to realistic objects and metaphors. The walls were completely covered in sticky notes and printouts. We had quite literally immersed ourselves in this new world we were imagining.

There were so many questions to answer! How could we take so many different types of information and give them a digital space in which to evolve and grow? What is the future of reading? How will people learn with this type of content in the future? Every design decision we made in those earliest days, no matter how small, contributed to our evolving vision of what is possible.

Over time, Inkling began to take shape and become real. Our team grew, our process matured, our partnerships blossomed, but one thing has always stayed the same: our uncompromising approach to design.

The content you find inside Inkling is among the most beautiful to be found on a digital platform because it was important to us that it be beautiful. Our titles are filled with enhanced interactive content because we want them to delight and excite people who want to learn. Our interface is streamlined and simple because we feel it should be intuitive and approachable to everybody.

Take, for example, the spine: that’s the left-hand indicator you see when you’re reading something. The spine shows you your current location in the chapter, similar to a scroll bar, but we took it one step further and broke it into chunks that represent the relative lengths of the sections in that chapter. This little UI detail makes a big difference because it mirrors something that people do with real textbooks: when you sit down to do some reading, you flip ahead to gauge its length. When I talk to users, this small design innovation is often one of their favorite features.

Great design is, of course, about more than the placement of a button or the size of a label; it’s about shaping great ideas into something of real benefit and value to the human at the receiving end of the process.

We’ve only just begun, and every day we tackle new challenges and find new questions to answer. We will continue to inquire and explore, to research and iterate, and to strive to provide the best possible experience for anyone who loves learning. (For the record, we believe that’s everyone.) It’s these challenges that make Inkling almost as much fun to work on as it is to use.

If you’ve used Inkling, and you’ve got ideas about how we can improve it, please let us know. In spite of all the work we’ve done, our design journey is still in its earliest stages. We’d love to have you along for the ride.