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[Need Advice] Fixed Layout or Reflowable Layout?

New Here ,
Apr 25, 2024 Apr 25, 2024

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Here's the situation....

I am currently finishing up my last project for my design class. We need to do a children's book with animations and interactive buttons. My problem is that when I exported my Epub in Fixed Layout form, the text was changed and some animations keep "spilling" in other pages (for example, Page 2 animations pop up at the left border of Page 3). Will I have to change it to Reflowable Layout? What I don't want happening is my text changing and my animations becoming screwed up in pace, action, and button trigger. Fyi, I am a noob at InDesign so my apologies if I don't understand common knowledge about the app. I did look into the difference between a bit but didn't quite get it.

 

Please help :'(

TOPICS
EPUB , Import and export , Performance , Publish online

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Community Expert ,
Apr 25, 2024 Apr 25, 2024

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Reflowable will never work and you've discovered why fixed layout is essentially useless except in very limited cases. What reader app are you using to test this EPUB? The only ones I can even remotely recommend are Thorium Reader for Windows and the native Books app on Mac.

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New Here ,
Apr 25, 2024 Apr 25, 2024

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I don't have a reader app to test it on because we are supposed to turn it in as an Epub file but our professor never specified if they would be using a reader app to test it on. For now, I was testing it on Adobe Digital Editions and that's where I ran into those issues.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 25, 2024 Apr 25, 2024

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ADE is perhaps the worst possible choice to test this file. Frankly, it's garbage.

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New Here ,
Apr 25, 2024 Apr 25, 2024

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Well I was just informed by another classmate that perhaps its due to using PC instead of Mac? I don't know how true this is but I think I 'll try my luck with that and hope for the best.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 25, 2024 Apr 25, 2024

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Absolute nonsense.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 25, 2024 Apr 25, 2024

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I'm trying to think of a less ambiguous response and failing. 🙂

 

InDesign has no functional differences between platforms and EPUB is utterly platform-independent. Everything lies with using a reliable, standards-compliant reader, which ADE is not (on any platform).


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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Community Expert ,
Apr 25, 2024 Apr 25, 2024

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The short answer is that fixed layout (FXL) is a complicated and difficult layout, largely obsolete. It should only be used for "picture page" books like illustration-based children's books, graphic novels, and the like. All other books that are all/mostly text or have illustrations through the text should use reflowable.

 

Your project is a children's book, which would seem to make it a candidate for FXL, but the problems multiply from there with multimedia elements, animation and the like. The truth is that EPUB is not a very good format overall, with a standard stuck a decade or more behind reality and zero enforced or de-facto oversight of the critical readers. As with other digital formats, EPUB is 100% dependent on the reader used, its compliance to standards and the scope of any variance, added features or "I can make this better" notions by the developer.

 

Complex EPUB books can be built and succeed on the most standards-based readers (Calibre, Thorium). But EPUB + FXL + animations etc. is going to be a bag of walnuts pretty much no matter what approach is used.

 

(There's an assumption, fueled by the prevalence of animation and multimedia in things like web pages and phone apps, that all such tech is mature and workable. There are, unfortunately, many platforms and standards for which modern notions of animation and interactivity never worked well and likely never will, and EPUB is one of those platforms.)


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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