Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Royal Irish Academy releases 'A History of Ireland in 100 Objects' a new book app developed with Joe Zeff Design

Just in time for St. Patrick Day comes "a gift from the people of Ireland" – A History of Ireland in 100 Objects, a free book app from the Royal Irish Academy. The new app was a project of the National Museum of Ireland, The Irish Times and the Royal Irish Academy, but TNM readers will want to know that the app was developed through the studio of Joe Zeff Design, the company behind many interesting interactive book apps.

(Also partnering in the project were the EU Presidency, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Adobe Systems - the app was built using the Adobe DPS).

This is the story of Ireland, told through photos, film and audio of the key objects in Irish history. Starting in 5,000 BC with the Mesolithic Fish Trap, you can trace the course of Irish history through to 2013 and a decommissioned IRA gun. Along the way, you can explore the significance of the Spanish Armada, the path of the Irish in America, the horrors of Bloody Sunday or the homesickness of Irish goldminers in Australia. Each object is featured via beautiful photography and an incisive short essay by leading Irish writer Fintan O'Toole as well as film or audio of the object giving its historical context. You can immerse yourself in this virtual history of Ireland for hours at a time, you can dip in for a minute, orjavascript:void(0); you can even use the app as a guide and follow the trail of the objects taking in the country's leading museums and cultural institutions.

The app opens to a library page where the reader downloads the actual eBook, and as the app description mentions, the file to be downloaded is 500 MB.

The eBook is designed to read more like a magazine, in portrait. This may have been a design choice knowing that the work would not only appear for the iPhone and iPad, but for the Kindle Fire and Android tablets, as well.

The book is filled with multimedia elements: from mini-documentaries, audio, animated objects and zoomable imagery as you will see in the preview video created by Joe Zeff Design. You can also read more about the app on the studio's own blog. But the important thing to know is that the eBook is free to download until the end of March.

I'm sure the team over at Joe Zeff Design would like a few kind words about the app, but really, TNM readers know what to expect – yet another fine app from the design studio. They don't get much better than this as far as design, interaction, stability of app, etc.

The preview video can be found after the jump: