Yanko Design Rediscovers a Classic eReader Design

ROCKET  ebookWhen 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.

serene_07[1]I think the font size buttons are poorly placed (and probably redundant, too) but the rest of the design looks like it might be nice.

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.

Ergonomic eReader

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Syn26 July, 2013

    Thats one of the best placements for the page turn button that ive seen on a modern eink reader.

  2. W. Yu26 July, 2013

    It also looks like you can flip it around for left-handed use, which isn’t mentioned or shown in the renderings.

  3. fjtorres26 July, 2013

    The Pocketbook 360 can be configured to use the 4-way rocker ring for page turning.
    You don’t have to move the thumb to page, just press to tilt the ring.
    A properly designed 5-way rocker and GUI is the most ergonical and economical way to control an entry-level narrative text ebook reader.
    The second best is a 5-way rocker and side-mounted paging buttons. 🙂

  4. Moriah Jovan26 July, 2013

    I’m still mourning the obsolescence of my eBookWise. I have never held something so ergonomically brilliant as that.

    1. Nate Hoffelder26 July, 2013

      That was the next-gen model of the rocket eBook. I liked the curves of the older device, myself.

      1. Moriah Jovan26 July, 2013

        Never saw/held one of those.

  5. Ana26 July, 2013

    But I prefer being able to hold it with either hand, that’s what I like of my Nook Simple Touch. The buttons to turn page are a bit hard to press, but when you are in public transport, you cannot always chose which hand you are going to need free to hold yourself against bumps, and the frame combined with a good cover gives you a good grip to hold the e-reader with the hand of your choice.

    1. Moriah Jovan26 July, 2013

      Turn the device upside down and change the text orientation and voila. You can hold it with the other hand.

  6. Arif Teak Furniture31 August, 2013

    even so, it would have to use 2 hands when reading certain news


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