I first heard of tech publisher and general pioneer Tim O’Reilly when someone pointed out that putting fruit and non-finance-like items on our cover was similar to O'Reilly's habit of putting animals on their coding books. When I read his line “a reference book is essentially a user interface to information” from 1995 (http://oreilly.com/tim/articles/pubmod.html) it spoke to the web designer in me. It helped me imagine how that explaining stuff through text well is as much a user interface issue as about writing. Some things are best read from start to finish, perhaps on a train or curled up on the sofa, and they might need wide margins so you can write notes. Others demand that you can dip in and out of them quickly, finding what you want at the quickest speed. They are dipped in-and-out-of, searched, bookmarked, with important passages added to notebooks, emailed to collaborators or shared with friends.
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