Totally rebuilt and redesigned
Overhauling our Salish Sea Pilot cruising guides in time for the boat show season has been a wild ride. We have worked some crazy long hours, not only making the usual updates to marina and anchorage coverage, but also redesigning and rewiring the five editions.
Everything has taken a backseat to this. Our blogging fell off a cliff. Cruising suffered. In-laws ate alone 😉
Why the change? Cruisers who use our guides have been very kind with us, and helpful in the extreme, but every once in a while someone will note that perhaps the pages didn’t fit their laptop the same what they fit their tablet or phone. Or they sometimes got confused or had difficulty moving around when using a page that had two, sometimes three, anchorages.
So we shifted the orientation of our pages to landscape, so not only would they better present on tablets and big-screen phones, they would also better fit laptop screens which so many cruisers use for navigation.
On top of that, we simplified our pages, with most pages devoted to one anchorage or marina. Every page has links back to main and section menus. Everything is a click away and you should never be lost.
Another issue is formats. We have been playing with the idea of switching from PDF to EPUB, which is the format we would have to use to put our guides on Apple’s iBookstore or on Google Play for Android. EPUB is also a good foundation for multimedia, which we hope to add in the future.
But going to EPUB now means abandoning the universality of PDF. Every device can read PDF if you have the right reader. You can put our guides on all your devices, whether iOS, Android, Windows, Mac or Linux. EPUB is a great format, but the universality is just not there — have you used a Windows or Linux EPUB reader lately?
The full potential of PDF is seldom exploited. So we completely rebuilt our guides to use the interactive tools within PDF. We will likely have to move to EPUB when we add video, but hopefully the use of EPUB will be more universal when we get to that hurdle. And, for now, we will continue to sell the guides through Paypal.
One problem with PDFs. They can be viewed in Internet browsers, but they don’t work properly in Internet browsers.
If we ever get a complaint about our guides, whether it’s the links not working or the pages not scrolling properly, we can bet the user is using them in a web browser. Don’t do that.
If you have a Mac or other Apple device, use iBooks. If you have a Windows, Android or Linux device, there are are a number of good ebook readers, such as the popular Adobe Reader.