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Old 02-22-2018, 04:52 PM   #1
datanoise
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[All models] touch layer precision / small references numbers

Hi

I tried Kobo h2o and aura one and in both cases I found it extremely challenging to touch the right spot on the small note reference number to be able to read a note (or even to highlight exactly the right portion of text I try to highlight - but the problem is more important for notes reference number, sometimes it needs several tries).

I now experiment with a kindle and I'm impressed it's so simple: it just works. For essays it makes this ereader way more comfortable than any kobo I tried. Which is a shame as Kobos are more 'open'...

My question is: are all Kobo models similarly poorly sensitive on the touch layer / is it hard to "click" on the small number to read a note of each of those, or are some models really good / as comfortable for that as the paperwhite is?


Last edited by datanoise; 02-22-2018 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:37 PM   #2
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Short version is yes, they are all roughly the same since this is mostly controlled by the firmware (which is for all intents and purposes the same across all the devices) rather than the individual device hardware.

The more informative answer is that if you are using epub you can run into what you are describing because the touch spot is quite small. If you are willing to run it through something like Calibre or Kepubify and convert the epub to a kepub you'll find it works much better (touch spot is much larger). As an added bonus, in kepubs the footnote (in most cases) will initially show in a pop-up box rather than jumping the page with them on it (if it's a large footnote you can then jump to the footnote page to see the whole thing).
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:56 PM   #3
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The hardware isn't better than say kindle but it's purely a software issue? Why did they choose the spot to be so little? It's barely usable...

I'll try the kepub trick, thank a lot!
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by datanoise View Post
The hardware isn't better than say kindle but it's purely a software issue? Why did they choose the spot to be so little? It's barely usable...
Alternatively, why did the book designer choose to make the footnote link so small? Or a slightly different question, why are you reading in a font that is to small for you to use all the features of the device?

These questions aren't meant as a criticism, but to point out some difficulties with this sort of thing.

The developers of any tool have to make decisions on how to do things. In this case, they had to decide how to render the link and the tap area. The code in the book defines the link and that includes the size. Strictly, if the tap area is larger than the link defined by the book code, they are not respecting the book code. And what happens if there are multiple footnotes next to each other?

The kepub renderer does handle the links differently. And it does increase the tap area size for footnotes. Why the difference I don't really know, but it is probably related to the underlying libraries used. For epubs, the Adobe RMSDK is used, for kepubs, ACCESS or NETFRONT or something is used (I've lost track of this). What these do probably limit what Kobo can do in the display and touch area.

The epub renderer is quite a faithful rendering of the book code. There are lots of opinions expressed here about whether this is good or bad. And a lot of them are of the type: "Yes, they must be faithful, except in this one little area".

My opinion on this is that the book developers need to get away from the idea of a tiny little superscript number for footnotes. It is bad enough but sort of understandable in print books, but is completely pointless in ebooks. Make the word or phrase a link to the footnote. Something nice and easy to select.

Also, there will be some hardware limits on this. The touch resolution will define the smallest area that can be treated as tap zone of some sort. Then there is the size and accuracy of the finger doing the tapping. Those combined will mean a lot of us miss the area we need to tap.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:11 PM   #5
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You're right. Theoretically I agree with the "they must be faithful" - but when it's not usable it starts to get problematic: on my kobo I used to change the styling to have big enough numbers to be able to read the notes...

Didn't find much information on the touchscreen resolutions. Is this similar to the visible resolution?
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:29 PM   #6
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Didn't find much information on the touchscreen resolutions. Is this similar to the visible resolution?
I don't think I've seen any figures. I would expect it to be lower then the screen resolution.
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by datanoise View Post

My question is: are all Kobo models similarly poorly sensitive on the touch layer / is it hard to "click" on the small number to read a note of each of those, or are some models really good / as comfortable for that as the paperwhite is?

The new H2O Edition 2 appears to be using a different touchscreen type. You can (under magnification) clearly see the grid https://hd.tudocdn.net/677628?w=660&h=660

The downside is a slightly darker background with the light off, but I find accuracy is very good. No problems clicking superscript footnotes. When I first got my Aura Edition 2, you could feel that accuracy was a bit off when first entering the wifi password during setup!

The sensitivity is about the same as other Kobos (i.e., not as good as you'd like, sometimes you press but need to do it again to register).
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:37 AM   #8
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What I do is change the superscript endnote to something like[*] or [1] in the same font size as the body font. That way the area to press is greater and you see the endnote marker much easier and it's much easier to press.
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