I appreciate that the current UI was designed and is still optimized for reading long-form prose. That means it prioritizes a “clean, uninterrupted” reading experience to move through a long work in sequential order. Nice job!
However, that also means Pressbooks offers a suboptimal reading experience for other kinds of texts. In my case I’m thinking of textbooks and reference works. Readers of these kinds of e-books expect and need to be able to jump around very frequently to specific subtopics elsewhere in the book.
I am the author of an open textbook which I currently publish using a simple WordPress theme with a couple minor free plugins:
The most relevant plugin in use there is “Collapsing Categories,” which offers an always-visible, visually clean, accessible, mobile-friendly UI so that the reader can easily navigate at any time to any other section of the book, and in fact encourages them to do so.
I would love to move my textbook into PressBooks for many reasons, but the Pressbooks reader experience would be quite frustrating to my students compared to what I have now, and I believe it would negatively impact their learning, and that trumps everything else.
I propose improving Pressbooks to either offer a reader UI option in which a quite different version of the TOC is used, optimized for reference/textbooks, or to enable Pressbooks authors to use other WP plugins within the body of the text, specifically including the option of “Collapsing Categories” or some equivalent.
Thanks for considering this,