When the Rocket eBook was released over a decade ago it had a great design that enabled use with a single hand. You could maintain a solid grip on the ereader while using a thumb to turn the page, thus freeing up your other hand for other things. Many ereader were influenced by this design, though few took the idea to the extreme of having page turn buttons on only one side of the screen.
The Yanko Design blog is showing off new concept images of an ereader that revives this old idea. They call it the Ergonomic eReader, and while it’s not the first to hearken back to the original Rocket eBook it is one of the prettier examples.
As you can see, this design an epaper screen. On one side of the screen there is a swipe pad for navigation (much like the never released txtr eReader) home and menu buttons, and on the edge it has a pair of buttons to manipulate the font size.
This ereader concept includes not just a hardware design but also suggestions about how the software might behave. As you can see from the image at right,the designer envisions a scrolling page turn. Given that faux page curls are what’s in right now, I could see this part of the design as being the first to be discarded.
The concept shown in the image above and the gallery below isn’t new, and it has been tried once in a while by various ereader makers.
The never released Skiff was supposed to be a magazine ereader with a one-sided design, and the US ereader and tablet importer Southern Telecom at one point sold a 7″ (Slick ER-701) and a 9″ ereader which looked not too different from what you see here.
None of the devices were all that successful, and that raises the issue of whether the lopsided design concept is as beloved by the consumer is it is by designers. Symmetry dominates the market (in ereaders and most other products), suggesting that appearance might outweigh ergonomics.