• Project Title: BookNook
    • Platform: IOS devices
    • Software: InVision, Photoshop


BookNook is a helpful reading companion. Its aim is to make book tracking and discovery accessible, easy and enjoyable for everyone with an interest in reading.


Certain frustrations can often interfere with reading habits and cause readers to lose interest. It is BookNook’s goal to ease these frustrations and become a useful tool in a reader’s process.


Various research methods were carried out to inform the build and design of BookNook. This research proved to be crucial as it gave clearer insights into what the user goals were and why these goals were so important.

Affinity Diagram

An affinity diagram method was used to explore the patterns that emerged from the reading habits and concerns. This process involved writing out an exhaustive list of information related to reading, defining reader habits, understandings, frustrations and experiences.  This method of research helped highlight the relationships that exist between certain elements. Patterns emerged from the clusters of data grouped together in terms of similarity, relationships and corresponding themes.

  • Key points that surfaced with the affinity diagram method included:

    • Information
    • Tracking
    • Reading History
    • Reviews
    • Discovery
    • Collections
    • Reading Challenges


Interviews were carried out on three participants with questions examining their reading habits and any frustrations they may have in relation to them. The questions asked during the interviews were always open ended, encouraging the interviewees to expand on their replies. It was found that that the majority of the participants read to relax, with most of them reading more than one book at one time. Two out of the three interviewees also said they normally do track the books they read, with the other participant saying that while they did not currently track their books, they would like to. Methods for book tracking included keeping notes and using the kindle, however these methods were not ideal for the interviewee as they found it involved a lot of effort and could often be unreliable.

Another frustration for one interviewee in particular was the missing description among new book releases these days. They pointed out that this was a common occurrence recently, which caused them to go a roundabout way of looking up the book description online. This caused them great annoyance and interfered on their time.


A quantitative method of research was also carried out, which involved the release of an online survey. The survey gathered 14 responses, with the participant’s ages ranging from 21 to 60+. The survey looked at the participant’s reading habits, book discovery methods and book tracking systems. This research approach contributed to the overall findings and was used to triangulate the final results.

The results from the interviews, surveys and affinity diagram highlighted the most common frustrations that repeatedly arose in the user’s reading process. Pain points involved unreliable tracking systems, difficulty finding trusted book reviews and lack of book information available online. These results were used to inform the depiction of the expected users and scenarios of BookNook.

User Personas

Sunetra Ghafa


    • Trusted reviews and ratings, all in the one place

    • A good source of book information


    • Save time on searching for book info and reviews

    • Avoid wasting money on a book she has no interest in


    • Books she regrets spending her time and money on

    • Unreliable book ratings and reviews

Sunetra is a 5th year student. She lives an hour away from school and commutes using the public bus service. Her journey to and from school is often long and busy with other commuters. When Sunetra is not cramming for a morning test, she can be found at the back of the bus with her head stuck in a book.

Sunetra used to borrow books from her school library, however she now uses a kindle which saves room in her backpack and spares her back. The most exciting thing about the kindle is the range of books it offers, however Sunetra doesn’t have a lot of time or money to invest in just any book. Normally, she would ask her friends for recommendations, but they don’t own kindles and don’t read as much as her. Sunetra wants to make sure that the books she reads are not a waste of her time or money.

This means that book reviews matter a lot to Sunetra. She likes to read through reliable reviews, that give honest feedback without spoiling the story. Sunetra’s process of finding these reviews is often long and tedious, going to selling websites such as book depository and amazon to read what ratings and reviews have been left by people who bought the book. These can often be unreliable and full of spoilers, which can ruin the book for Sun- etra before she’s even opened it. Sunetra would love a space with reviews that are honest, genuine and warn if they have spoilers.


    • Not sure where to look online for books

    • Unmotivated to read

James O'Neill


    • An easy way to search for books online
    • To set a reading goal and queue books


    • Save time searching for books online
    • Challenge self to read more with a realistic reading goal

James O'Neill is a recently retired Hotel Manager. Now that he no longer works, he spends his days looking after his grandchildren, golfing, playing tennis and reading. James has always had a keen interest in reading, however he always struggled to make time for it. Between his job and busy home life he was often exhausted and found throwing on the tv much easier and quicker than sitting down to read. Now that James has more time, he has no excuse not to work on his reading habits.

James has a huge interest in fast paced, exciting reads with an unpredictable twist at the end. Whenever he’s shopping in the local bookstores, he can be found in the thriller, crime or mystery sections. James wants to read more books that explore these themes, however he’s been struggling to find ones that really interest him. The local bookstores and library only have a limited supply of these kinds of books and when he goes online to see what’s available he has no idea where to look.

James would also like to challenge himself to read more books. He imagines that if he had a goal to work towards, he would be motivated to read more. If he had a simple method of setting a reading goal within a certain timeframe and a way to plan out what books he was going to read next, it would be half the battle.


Scenario 1 - Nick

Nick is an eleven year old boy who loves nothing more than playing games on his Nintendo DS. However, he recently dropped his Nintendo down the stairs and it broke beyond repair. Nick has been trying to convince his parents to purchase him a new console, however his parents have seen this as a great opportunity to drag Nick’s eyes away from screens. Summer has just begun and they do not want to see him staring at a screen for three months. So, they’ve decided to make a deal with Nick. If he can read fifteen books before the end of summer, they’ll buy him a new console.

Nick’s up to the challenge. Using the family iPad, he sets up his own personal book reading challenge using BookNook. He enters in the first and last days of summer as the beginning and end dates of the challenge. He enters in his goal of fifteen books and adds the three books he borrowed from the library earlier to his reading queue.

Two weeks into the challenge, Nick has finished his three books and is unsure what to read next. After updating his progress on his most recent read, which he thoroughly enjoyed and rated five stars on BookNook, Nick finds a selection of books recommended to him based on the one he just finished. Nick explores the recommendation options and reads through their descriptions. He then adds the ones he finds interesting to his reading challenge queue.

By the end of summer, Nick has exceeded his reading expectations by eight books. He read twenty-three books in total, which were tracked by BookNook. Using the Book- Nook reading challenge feature encouraged him to easily track his progress and reach his reading goal. Nick is delighted with his new Nintendo, however he now reads every night before bed and sets up a new reading challenge every couple of months.

Scenario 2 - Cecelia

Cecelia is a busy secondary school music teacher. When she’s not busy preparing her students for their junior or leaving certs, she’s giving piano lessons. Cecelia is constantly on the go, driving herself to and from the school she teaches at and the houses of her piano students. When Cecelia finally settles down at home in the evening, she loves nothing more than curling up on her ancient armchair in front of the stove, with a cup of tea and a good book from her favourite genre, contemporary fiction.

A few of Cecelia’s piano students live in town and she schedules their lessons for Saturdays. These lessons are an hour long each and she gets an hour-long break in the middle of the day. This window of time gives her the opportunity to visit the large bookstore in town. After finding parking and grabbing a coffee and a sandwich, Cecelia normally has twenty minutes to browse the bookstore before heading out to her next student.

Theres a wide range of contemporary fiction books available at the bookstore, with new arrivals every month. Cecelia likes to browse through as much as she can but limits herself to buying only one or two books a week. She often finds ones that she would like to buy at a later stage, which she adds to her ‘Want to read’ collection on her Book- Nook app. Opening up her phone, Cecelia goes to the search screen on her BookNook app and selects the camera button available at the top of the screen. This button opens up her phone’s camera and can scan a book’s ISBN code, located on the back cover of the book. An ISBN code is a unique identifier for a book. Once the ISBN code is successfully scanned, BookNook fetches the book’s data and shows Cecelia additional information about the book.

Cecelia can now add the book to her ‘Want to read’ collection and find out more information about the book. This quick and easy scanning process saves Cecelia time and helps her remember what books she wants to read in future. Next time she’s visiting the bookstore, she’ll only need to bring up her ‘Want to read’ collection on her BookNook app and see what books she scanned in previously.

Treatment Sketches

The treatment designs for BookNook developed a lot from their early sketches. User research and testing pointed out the most common user needs and pain points. Research into competitor products also helped push the design of BookNook.

The Prototype

The prototype for BookNook was designed using InVision. The prototype displays the most important screens, including the four primary tabs: Home, My Books, Search and My Profile. 

User Testing

The BookNook prototype was tested by a user for a period of thirty minutes. The user was provided the link to the prototype and carried out the user testing on their own mobile device. The user was also given a survey sheet to fill out as they explored the product.

The survey instructed the user to perform certain tasks in the app, including book tracking, creating a collection and creating a book challenge. After each task, the user was asked to give feedback on the task and highlight any difficulties they had performing it.


Informing the design and flows of BookNook with essential research and data resulted in a well received prototype. Minor details were raised in the user testing phase, however the interactions and overall user experience of the product went well.