Vlad's Portfolio Site

Book-It – Case Study

Book recommendation mobile app

⬇️

Overview

Role

Product Designer


Timeline

01/2019– 4/2019


Type

Mobile app

Book-It is a mobile application that aims to help people find their next book to read through personal recommendations.


For this case study, I go through an overview of the steps taken to get to the final outcome design through design thinking and an iterative product design process.


For this project, I worked with 2 other designers and this was our process. Additionally, this project was for the UX Design final project at the University of Michigan.

Motivation

Sometimes finding the next book to read can be a difficult or frustrating experience. The motivation for this project was to find a way to provide more personalized book recommendations to people so the challenge of finding something new to read can be solved. Knowing the reviewer’s personality and interests offer more context and more trustworthy opinions on a book for a personalized experience. 


Expected Impact

For people who want to read more books or new types of books but are unsure about where to start, this project aimed to help them by promoting their literacy skills, introducing new concepts or ideas, and increasing their overall enjoyment of reading.


Guiding Preliminary Questions

The goal of these questions was to make sure we were gathering accurate information and were solving the actual problem.


Design Focused

  1. 1. What medium will this solution take? 
  2. 2. What would be the best way to present ratings and interests towards titles?
  3. 3. How should we list and present the recommendations (numbers, selections, order, and format)?
  4. 4. What would be the best rating system to use to recommend new titles.
  5. 5. How can we display the book title, author, and other important information needed to find the book in a universal format?
  6. 6. What kind of interactions (features) will help people make their decisions?

Research Focused

  1. 1. What is the process the people currently undergo in order to find new books to read? 
  2. 2. What channels (medium) do they use to read? How effective are they?
  3. 3. What do people value in a book recommendation?
  4. 4. What influences people to choose one title over another to read?
  5. 5. How long does it typically take to read a book?
  6. 6. How valid is the recommendation? How fast is it proven to be a good or bad recommendation?
  7. 7. How much impact does a recommendation from someone you know have when compared to a recommendation from an anonymous?

The Research Approach

After outlining the preliminary questions, it came down to selecting a research methodology. The methods selected and ordered were: preliminary interviews, comparative analysis, surveys, interviews & affinity mapping.


Preliminary Interviews

The reason for conducting these preliminary interviews was to level-set our bias and gauge interest in the problem area.

Comparative Evaluation 

The goal of this UX research method is to gain a better understanding of the well-designed processes, discover missing features of currently operational systems for reviewing books, and learn how to be a disrupter in this area.

Surveys

Used surveys a supplementary tool to further gain insights and also to recruit users for future tests and interviews

Interview

The primary use of the interview was to get to know our target users and their reading habits. From the interview, we were able to pull out a lot of information in a short amount of time.

Affinity Mapping

As a way of understanding a large amount of information and to uncover patterns, affinity mapping was shown to be most effective.

Design Requirements

After analyzing and interpreting the research, the design requirements gracefully revealed themselves. The requirements below are the top 4 design requirements out of 12 that were uncovered. The remaining are of secondary or tertiary nature.

Requirement 1

  1. Ability to browsing for new books. 


Requirement 2

  1. Send recommendations publicly or privately.

Requirement 3

  1. Receiving recommendations from others. 


Requirement 4

  1. Track recommendations through a reading list.

The Design Process


Now that the research and requirements gathering is complete, it was time to focus on iterating on designs.

Crazy 8 Sketches

Based on the problem statement and the user requirements, It made sense to start sketching ideas out.


Using a brainstorming technique called Crazy 8 – where you sketch out 8 ideas in 8 minutes, I diverged and converged with the rest of my team to solidify all ideas into a single one.

Information Architecture 

For better organization, determining flows and functionality I created a basic architecture using Real-Time Board(MIRO) This led to the structuring of 5 main pages; activity feed, book browser, profile, book view, and reading lists.

Low-Fidelity Prototype

With the information architecture defined and sketches of the designs complete, the team and I focused on creating a low-fidelity prototype in Figma.


This led us to create a clickable prototype with predefined tasks to test the interactions and usability of the application with 5 users.

High Fidelity Screens

Using Sketch & InVision I was able to create a high fidelity click-through prototype .