This is a personal project that was created during my attendance of Springboard's UX design course. Since I always loved (and still love) reading books, this idea was very near and dear to me and I had a lot of fun working on this project.
Hypothesis (user problem): A lot of people who generally like to read books, don’t read as much as they would like to.
Challenge: Design a service or a product, that will help users to read more books.
First off, I had to validate my initial hypothesis by conducting a survey:
80.6% of my 62 survey participants (target group: people of all ages who regularly read books) stated that they are not satisfied with how many books or how often they read.
Afterward, I was able to gather further information about potential users through user interviews:
5 interviews were conducted to find out how, when, and why users read and what they could need
to read more.
From these interviews, I discovered two general reader types that formed my personas.
I learned about the goals that potential users would like to achieve.
From there, instead of thinking about the complete product yet, I rather ideated single features to solve the user's individual problems.
Problem: Users want to get inspired and find new books.
Solution: A "Discover books" feature, that is tailored to the user's needs. It curates books by different criteria—such as genres and authors, but also moods ("melancholic", "lighthearted"), situations ("cozy winter time"), or topics ("US politics of the 20th century").
Problem: Users want to take away learnings from a book (The Self-Developer) and share their thoughts and feelings about a story (The Bookworm).
Solution: A feature called "Journal", where the user can take notes related to a book, take photos of pages and highlight things, and then share their journal with other users.
Problem: Users want to gain motivation to read more.
Solution: The "Reading Plan" feature, which basically works like a workout plan—just that it's for reading a book. A user can choose a book and a date by which they want to finish reading it, and the app will tell them how many pages they should read per day to reach their goal.
To top a user’s experience off, I created an onboarding process to find out what type of reader the user is and what kind of books they like to read—this way, the app can give them an experience that’s tailored to their goals and needs.
To combine all these features and ideas in one single, useful app structure, I first created user flows, that I iterated on based on my mentor's feedback, and from which I derived the following wireframes.
The first version of my app's structure. Working with post-it notes and pieces of string allowed me to change it several times whenever I realized that something wouldn't make sense
After creating these wireframes and iterating on them, I created a non-designed prototype using Sketch and InVision, that I wanted to test in remote user tests.
The prototype was created as the MVP, as it contained only the most critical features I ideated for my app.
Some screens from the prototype I created
I conducted three remote usability tests to find out how users like the app's features and whether they find them useful (or maybe complete nonsense?). Also, I was able to gather insights about the overall usability. Luckily, both of my personas participated in the test, so the learnings were very valuable to me.
I was very happy to learn that the users seemed to like the features I included in my MVP. Watching users use my app and getting feedback was exciting, so it was relieving to hear that I did not go in totally wrong directions with my ideas.
Still, there were some things I should optimize in the app. Also, I learned a lot about how to remote-test prototypes because I could observe that users had some trouble using it.
Finally, some visuals! I love designing visually, so this step was one of the most enjoyable ones for me.
As a basis for the app’s design, I created a concept for a styleguide including colors, button styles, and fonts.
The app should feature a visual design that is delightful and adds to a positive experience. It’s meant to be warm and create an association with books and printed characters.
Thanks for reading!