Interactivity in ebooks

  • Sumo

Here’s a timely piece by Justin Putney of Ajar Productions (the in5 developer). There’s an exciting demo (scroll down) and a request from Justin for ideas from developers to bring interactivity to InDesign and then to EPUB (there’s a link to a short survey).  Justin will be hosting #eprdctn hour next Wednesday, August 5.


Hi, my name is Justin Putney. I’m co-founder of Ajar Productions. We make tools for designers and publishers, including our most popular product, in5, which exports interactive HTML5 from InDesign.

For the past three years, I’ve been focused on the best ways to get interactivity out of InDesign via in5. While at PePcon, I was inspired by a conversation with Mira Rubin to focus on getting more interactivity into InDesign, so that ePUB authors (and others) can easily add interactivity to their projects.

Currently, the tools within InDesign are quite limited when it comes to creating interactivity and distributing to an ePUB. The Folio Overlays, used to create interactive elements like self-running slideshows for Adobe DPS, do not work in ePUB. Animation imported from Edge Animate is a great way to add some flair to a project, but it cannot be viewed in iBooks on iOS. So if you’re not currently a fluent coder, your options for interactivity are limited. That’s what we’d like to fix.

In the video, you’ll see the prototype that I showed at PePcon, which can import interactive HTML that works in an ePUB.

We’re currently testing the ability to add HTML from anywhere, as well as having the option of inserting configurable widgets (like iBooks Author has).

What this means for you

This could help you add interactive items to your reflowable and fixed-layout projects.

  • Quizzes and Surveys
  • Image Galleries
  • Slideshows
  • Scrollable Frames
  • Flip cards
  • …and much more

You won’t have to be a programmer or know how to code to use our tool.

What you can do

There are 3 things that you can do to impact and follow this project.

  1. We’d love to get your feedback and find out what’s important to you in your ePUB work. If you want to help shape the direction of our project, please add your input to this short survey.
  2. I’ll also be hosting the #eprdctn Hour on August 5th at 11am EDT/8am PST, if you want to have a live Twitter chat about interactivity and ePUBs.
  3. If you’d like to hear more about this project as it’s being developed, you can subscribe to our newsletter (and get a premium InDesign extension for free).

Thanks for reading and I look forward to chatting with you!

Justin Putney (@justinputney) is a designer, animator, developer, speaker, author (Adobe Press &, Adobe Community Professional, entrepreneur, and minimalist runner. He is also co-founder of ajarproductions.

3 Responses to “Interactivity in ebooks”

  1. Justin, so glad you’re pursuing this! Remind me again, this works for reflowable as well as fixed layout epubs, is that right? Or just FXL.

  2. Hi Anne-Marie,

    I believe we will be able to support reflowable ePUB 3 projects as well. Each interactive type will come with a “supported platform” list.

  3. Jay says:

    Thank you for this great info. I appreciate your generosity, and looking forward to your newsletter!