When I designed and formatted World Adventure Kids, I saw it mainly as an e-reading text ideal for desktop computers, laptops, notebooks and tablet devices.
Trying it out on my Galaxy S smartphone confirmed my suspicion it wouldn't work that well on a mobile phone. The screen still feels too small for comfortable reading, and the Adobe Reader for Android (for some baffling reason) rendered out the interactive functions that make World Adventure Kids a fluid and pleasant touch/click experience.
As it turns out, it wasn't the smartphone (or its size) that was the problem; it was the e-reader app itself.
I uploaded a different e-reading app for Android by a company called Mantano (easy to find in the Android store connected to the phone) and I was blown away by what this reader did for an interactive text like World Adventure Kids. Not only could I now read and interact with the story on a smartphone, it was really clear and easy and... fun!
Mantano features excellent display properties (as well as customisation options for viewing the text) and I found WAK 2-1 beautifully clear and easy to read by turning the phone for 'landscape' mode. Scrolling down was easy, the interactive links to different 'next stages' in the story worked flawlessly on the touch screen, most illustrations fit perfectly on the landscape screen (and those that were more of the full-page format in size could easily be seen by simply turning for vertical portrait mode, before returning to landscape to continue reading text) and the colour and detail in the pics were wonderful!
There's also an excellent and beautifully simple bookmark function which allows you to save your current page, and unlike the crippled Adobe Reader app, Mantano automatically opens to your last viewed page if you happen to be returning to the text after a break of some sort.
But the Mantano Reader comes with a lot more than just a clear, clean and easy interface.
With a simple touch to the screen, the extra Mantano features pop up around your text. You get a convenient 'slider' to move back and forth across the entire book, navigation and display options, as well as really easy to use annotation and highlight functions.
One function I particularly enjoyed, however, was the TTS (Text to Speech) option, which when activated basically reads the text to you out loud. It does have that flat, somewhat expressionless monotone you expect from a computer-generated TTS function, but it was much better than I thought it would be and for the reader who enjoys the aural supplement I think it does a wonderful job.
Despite the fact that I actually wrote World Adventure Kids and must have read over the story a million times, viewing and reading it on my Galaxy S with the Mantano Reader app became almost an addictive experience! With a single thumb I was able to scroll through and navigate to next sections of the adventure, activating Text-to-Speech here and there to have my adventure story read out loud to me, and enjoying the full colour illustrations.
It felt much more like playing a game than reading a book...
I couldn't help envisaging kids in the car on a family trip, enjoying an interactive adventure on their parent's smartphone. A tablet device would probably make for an even more enjoyable reading experience, but knowing that WAK 2-1 really can work on a smarphone is music to my ears.
Just make sure you have a good e-Reader App, and Mantano Reader comes top of the list as far as I am concerned!