Details

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

Overview

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.

Challenge

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.

Research

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 any patterns that emerged from 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

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.

Survey

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

Needs

    • Trusted reviews and ratings, all in the one place

    • A good source of book information

Goals

    • Save time on searching for book info and reviews

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

Frustrations

    • 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.

Frustrations

    • Not sure where to look online for books

    • Unmotivated to read

James O'Neill

Needs

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

Goals

    • 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.

Wireframing

User research and testing pointed out the most common user needs and pain points involved in a reader's process. The pain points that emerged from the research phase primarily included issues relating to:

    • Tracking
    • Discovery
    • Information
    • Reviews

The wireframes were designed with these pain points in mind, incorporating expected steps to employ an intuitive user experience. 

Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

A set of design principles were followed during the sketch iterations to ensure an empathetic approach to the designs. 

    1. Seamless Integration: Each user has a unique reading process. Recording and updating their progress should be seamlessly integrated into their process without any complicating steps. 
    2.  Intuitive Feel: Navigating the app should be predictable and hassle-free for the user. 
    3. Prioritised Features: A set of features that focus on refining the user experience around the product's core objectives. Less is more!

High-Fidelity Wireframes

High-fidelity wireframes were designed with InVision Studio using the mid-fidelity wireframes as a reference. The high-fidelity wireframes mapped out the product's primary user flows using simple visuals and plain text. 

User Testing

The product's high-fidelity mockup was tested by a user for a period of fifteen minutes. The user was provided the link to the prototype and carried out the user testing on an iOS 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 which included updating reading progress, creating a collection and creating a reading challenge. After each task, the user was asked to give feedback on the task and highlight any difficulties they had performing it.

Key points raised as a result of the user testing included inconsistent shapes (some with sharp corners, others with rounded), text that was difficult to discern against dark backdrops and clearer indication needed when moving between page segments. Positive feedback included ease of use, clear navigation and a neat layout of elements. 

The feedback gathered from the round of user testing was used to revisit the product's overall design and address any indicated issues. This was then use to inform the design of the BookNook's prototype. 

The Prototype

BookNook's prototype was designed using InVision Studio. Both the light and dark mode displays are included in the final prototype designs. 

Light Mode

BookNook's light mode display uses a minimalistic approach in terms of colour. The reason for this is to allow the book covers to stand out and clearly display their own creative designs and colour themes. Gradients and drop shadows add depth to the separate components and allow for a modern and sleek looking design. 

Dark Mode

BookNook's dark mode displays fewer shades of blue compared to the prototype's light mode. Shades of grey and a darker blue offer a muted background for the book covers to stand out against. 

Outcomes

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.