The project I have created is a literary adaptation of the children’s picture book I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. The adaptation is digital, in the format of a Mag+ app. However, it has a specific audience in mind, young readers with visual impairments – particularly the condition of Protanopia (a type of colour blindness).
Unsworth comments that ‘Stories for early readers composed for online distribution only, seem to focus mainly on supporting children in learning how to decode the text’. This is relevant for my adaptation, because it concentrates on enabling visually impaired children to be able to process a story in ways more effective to their needs. I have incorporated text, but also other media elements such as images, narration and animal sounds, to create further engagement with the story beyond the traditional formatting. All these elements will help young readers to be able to make connections and connotations to the characters as animals, and follow the storyline. In regards to Hutcheon’s theories on adaptation, my project participates in telling and showing modes of engagement. The telling mode comes from the verbal and visual texts that create the story. The showing mode comes from the animal sounds that show the reader what sounds that particular animal makes.
The concept of creating reading material for the visually impaired is not new, yet is substantially lacking. Therefore, I undertook market research with visually impaired people to get an idea on the most appropriate formatting for my project. One visually impaired individual I questioned claimed that ‘light colours on a black background are far easier to see if you have little sight and also inverted colours on an iPad’. In Photoshop, the editing mode can be set so that the colours would appear the same as they would to someone who suffers with Protanopia. I knew that a black background with white, bold text and illustrations with vibrant colours embedded throughout would reflect the inverted colour option on an iPad. In terms of navigation, my adaptation complies with Vandendorpe’s browsing mode theory, as readers will take in the whole text and the swipe motioning ‘allows the user to navigate the web from one node of information to another’.
Overall, I feel like the project was successful in providing digital reading material that allows multi methodical storytelling, for those who have difficulty reading in the traditional formatting. However, if done for publication, I would commission the appropriate professionals to enforce a strong design style.
Callender, G Conversation with Cindy Callender, 1st May 2016.
Hutcheon, Linda and Siobhan O’Flynn A Theory of Adaptation 2nd ed. [Online]. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013. Available from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?sid=e261e422-a2884e9ea7767939c76dbd21%40sessionmgr4001&vid=0&hid=4210&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHNoaWImc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=bs.a2331880&db=cat00939a [Accessed 15th May 2016].
Klassen, Jon I Want My Hat Back. London: Walker Books Ltd, 2011.
Unsworth, Len E-literature for Children: Enhancing digital literacy learning [Online] Abingdon: Routledge, 2006. Available from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?sid=ac6fd943-6257-40a5-880f-66d96b2e7920%40sessionmgr4002&vid=0&hid=4108&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHNoaWImc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=bs.a1915569&db=cat00939a [Accessed 15th May 2016].
Vandendorpe, Christian ‘Reading on Screen: The New Media Sphere’.
In: Siemens, Ray and Susan Schreibman ed. A Companion to Digital Literary Studies [Online]. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008, Part III, 10. Available from: Available from: http://digitalhumanities.org:3030/companion/view?docId=blackwell/9781405148641/9781405148641.xml&chunk.id=ss1-5-4&toc.depth=1&toc.id=ss1-5-4&brand=9781405148641_brand [Accessed 18th May 2016].