The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens

In most cases, paper books have more obvious topography than onscreen text. An open paperback presents a reader with two clearly defined domains—the left and right pages—and a total of eight corners with which to orient oneself. A reader can focus on a single page of a paper book without losing sight of the whole text: one can see where the book begins and ends and where one page is in relation to those borders. One can even feel the thickness of the pages read in one hand and pages to be read in the other. Turning the pages of a paper book is like leaving one footprint after another on the trail—there’s a rhythm to it and a visible record of how far one has traveled. All these features not only make text in a paper book easily navigable, they also make it easier to form a coherent mental map of the text.

Although e-readers like the Kindle and tablets like the iPad re-create pagination—sometimes complete with page numbers, headers and illustrations—the screen only displays a single virtual page: it is there and then it is gone. Instead of hiking the trail yourself, the trees, rocks and moss move past you in flashes with no trace of what came before and no way to see what lies ahead.

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens

Some final tips

Don’t forget the camera. If you really want to make your animations special you should move the camera as you take your series of pictures. You can do this by either zooming in or out or panning from side to side. This moving of the camera is the single best way to make your animations stand out.

While the medium you use for your animation is very important and can turn a plain animation into something special to look at you should put some time and thought into the story of the animation. This is what can turn it into something truly remarkable. Surprise your viewers and keep them guessing as to what will happen next.

Just about anything in your every day world can be transformed into something extraordinary with a little bit of animation magic and a little bit of creativity. Just look around your house and you will discover lots of great ideas.