I forget how, but I came across Issuu the other day, an online document publishing web service, mainly aimed at magazines. Now, I now Scribd is all the rage these days, but for me its interface takes a lot of the joy of out of casual reading. I’m not saying that’s bad, I think Scribd does a really good job at technical or cover-to-cover reading where your primary experience is to search for a specific topic or start on page 1 and continue to page 2, 3, and so on.
Blog Insights into great design
Issuu – Publications Online
Issuu has a completely different take on how to show PDFs on the web, and it’s very well done! You can play around with the example above to see what I mean (I’d recommend full-screen, it’s even better). The interface walks a fine line between being eye candy and creating an immersive experience. Normally, when I see interfaces like this, I’ve found they’re usually okay for the first three or four clicks, but after that the shortcomings become readily apparent and I’m let down. To put it another way, this is the first time I’ve seen someone successfully tackle the issue of how to display and perserve the casual reading interaction in an electronic medium. Now if only the Kindle had an interface like this, I’d be sold on one.
If you still have any reservations that whoever’s behind this UI doesn’t really know what they’re doing, check out the embedding options. By far the best embed interface I’ve seen.