Slaw has always had an interest in publishing and in technology, so I’m using this track record as an excuse for telling you about Bibliotype, even though it has nothing whatever to do with law. My deeper reason is that we’re all in this together, and anything that might help improve the experience of reading materials online should interest lawyers. So much for the prolegomenon.
Bibliotype is the work of the niftily-named Craig Mod, a writer and book designer. I came across it because of Mod’s article in the online web designer’s publication, A List Apart. There he confronts the freedom offered by the iPad and other tablet devices. With books, the spine acts as an organizing axis; but on a tablet there is no such axis on which to hang a layout; there is as yet only freedom and possibility. The article is worth reading if you’re interested in user interfaces.
I think you’ll find a number of features to like in Mod’s demo of Bibliotype. Click on the menu button at the upper left to see the options you have. Most are fairly familiar: serif or sans-serif face, dark or light background, justified or not. But I particularly like his way of describing, and choosing, the options for type size: he reasons, rightly I think, that there are three typical ways we use an iPad: with it resting on our knees, propped up on a table, or leaning against a pillow in bed; and so he lets us choose our layout based on our distance from the screen. Smart.
(Because it’s aimed at tablet users, Bibliotype emphases compatibility with Apple’s webkit and may not work well on IE. I’ve tested it on Safari, Firefox and Chrome (on a Mac) and it works fine there.)