4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 7, 2012 4:16 AM by daevaux

    Is inDesign the best product for publishing an interactive training manual?


      I am building an interactive training manual for a fire department and I need to find out the best way to publish this document for use on an iPad or other tablet.  I will be embedding video, text, and photos, along with stacking photos for the 360 degree view.  So far I have read that there is a 2GB size limitation for articles.  I've also read that there is was way to publish privately if it becomes difficult to download from acrobat.com.  I would like this training manual to be all inclusive without having to break it up into multiple articles.  I would like to embed over 3 hours of video, over 200 photographs, over 260 pages of text, and have interactivity throughout.  Is this out of inDesign's scope?  Is there a way to publish this large of a document to multiple iPads without using the App Store or Android Market?  I'm just starting out so I'm looking forward for any constructive help I can get.

        • 1. Re: Is inDesign the best product for publishing an interactive training manual?
          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          The tools in Digital Publishing Suite can certainly accomplish this but there’s no cheap way to publish a branded app without going through one of the stores.




          That said, you can use the Adobe Content Viewer to do it but you’d be limited to about 100 people sharing the app. Secondly, going over 300-400 megs is going to be a killer. Nobody is going to want to download something that large. Have you considered streaming the video?




          Finally, you really need to read about the Digital Publishing Suite tools. You can learn more here: http://www.adobe.com/products/digital-publishing-suite-family.html




          There’s a dedicated forum here: http://forums.adobe.com/community/dps





          • 2. Re: Is inDesign the best product for publishing an interactive training manual?
            Colin Flashman Adobe Community Professional

            HOW interactive are we talking here? Buttons with rollovers, menus, or the ability to fill in answers like a workbook?


            A freelance client of mine wanted to prepare a workbook with "interactivity" and all looked well... until i was told what "interactive" meant. This example was a science workbook for schools which behaved as a facsimile of the normal book which would be filled in by hand, except that answers were not always checkboxes or text. Sometimes answers would be:


            • plot a graph
            • draw a picture of an amoeba (for example) and label the parts; or draw the diagram of isopropyl alcohol;
            • fill in a crossword
            • join the correct reducing agent to the correct oxidising agent


            AFAIK this kind of interactivity isn't possible with the off-the-shelf indesign, and i don't know of any third party software which provides this kind of interactivity. Yes, the author could have been asked to rephrase the questions to fit the limitations of indesign's fill-in forms and interactivity, but the author did not want this.


            Also, is tablet-specific software the right platform to use? Perhaps a website with a paywall may be a better form of distribution and construction, allowing a RIA (Rich Internet Application) to be made for the project.

            • 3. Re: Is inDesign the best product for publishing an interactive training manual?
              ZipESS Level 1

              I have developed about a dozen training manuals with just this (and more) functionallity.  I have found many work arounds and have published manuals that are over 100mb in size.


              If you would like to know more it is probably better to discuss off-line.  You coud contact me at jzipfel      at     envsafety   dot  com  (sorry for the format, too many trolls and spam potential on public forums)



              • 4. Re: Is inDesign the best product for publishing an interactive training manual?

                Hi there,

                I've read a good rule of thumb for dps video is 10mbs per minute. At that rate 3 hours will take you over 1gb. The photos text and basic interactivity are no problem, but the video is problematic at that size and as noted above, streaming it would be a much better option. This is if you want to publish it to the app store for iPad.

                I do not have an android tablet, but I do have an android phone, and it's much easier to get content on android devices. It may be possible to do what you want in a series of linked PDF files and simply copy them onto an android tablet.

                Cdflash brings up a good point regarding interactivity too.