For many years I have been involved in various web design projects. I never believed in fancy WYSIWYG (“What you see is what you get”) editors such as Dreamweaver and instead preferred to control the look of the web page fully myself by using HTML and CSS. Actually, when I started out, CSS was not very well supported so the only way of making complicated layouts look good was to use tables within tables within tables…. But that’s another story entirely…
1. Ebooks are less complex
I don’t have to think about making 5 buttons show up exactly in the right place over an image and sort out gaps between various background images to make it look flawless. All I have to worry about is how the text looks and how to fit in some illustrations and other fairly simple items.
2. Ebooks use XHTML and very limited CSS
XHTML is great – it’s totally logical and easy to write. And because only so many tags and codes are recognised by most Ereaders, I don’t have to remember a whole encyclopedia of code to create a good looking Ebook.
3. The Ebook cover is the only complex graphic (usually)
Due to restrictions imposed by most Ereaders, the cover – although potentially complex with images and superimposed text – should just be one simple image. Once the hard work of designing it in a graphics program is done, you don’t have to then try and convert it into HTML code that makes sense to all different devices which are going to display it. Design the image and that’s it!
4. The content should be supplied in advance.
The biggest delay in putting a website live is that usually the designer or developer does just that – design and develop. Usually for a company within a totally different industry. The client supplies the content but usually that aspect is treated like an afterthought and holds up the completion of the website. Without knowing what content there is meant to be on the website, it’s difficult to build it in a way that makes sense. But when creating an Ebook, the text is written in full first, and then the formatting is done. So such problems are completely eliminated!
5. Cross browser compatibility is much harder than cross Ereader compatibility
If you look at the stats for any random website, you’ll see that visitors use a vast number of different browsers as well as devices and screen resolutions. Some can display certain complicated formatting better than others. Some will have to scroll endlessly to the right and bottom of the page (especially nowadays where a lot of people browse on mobile phones and other smaller devices) or may not be able to use the site at all. Although of course there are a vast number of devices capable of reading Ebooks, the big online Ebook stores use only a limited number of formats. Basically if your book looks good as an .epub or .mobi file, you just have to consider what size to make the cover and you’re set.