I love reading. It’s one of my passions. That is why I got so bothered when I took a look to the Spanish Survey on Reading Habits of 2017, specially with the fact that 40% of the Spanish population never reads a book, and 47% of these people allege that the lack of time is the main reason for it.
This is the challenge I wanted to tackle for my last project of Ironhack: to promote the reading among the Spanish population. And I decided to do it by facilitating the exchange of books. Was it the final solution? Let’s take a look to it.
We start the process by establishing the UX strategy of this process in the UX Strategy Blueprint: the challenge we wanted to tackle (to promote reading among the population), our aspirations (to prevent books to be “abandoned” and to promote the exchange of books) and a focus on a specific target (people interested in reading, digital population).
We use the Lean Survey Canvas to help us create a survey that was answered by 123 users:
- 78% of the users read in paper.
- 90.7% of the users store their books after reading them.
- 52.4% of the users have exchanged books in the last 6 months.
- The other 47,6% haven’t exchanged books either because they didn’t have the chance (44.9%) or because they didn’t think about it (38.8%).
- 78.8% would like to read more.
- 53% would like to have personalized reading suggestions.
After launching the survey I interviewed 9 users and their insights made me start to rethink the project:
- They don’t read more because of the lack of time.
- In many times they don’t know what to read.
- Only one of them have participated in a book exchange.
- All of them are interested in book exchange but they don’t want to interact in person with the other exchangers.
How can you exchange books if you don’t want to interact in person with other people? I decided to take a step back regarding the exchange idea, look for the problems and afterwards ideate solutions. And after analyzing the insights, the two main problems of my users were:
- Lack of time.
- They don’t know what to read.
Defining my users (and the solutions)
After having analyzed all the insights I gathered from the research I builded my three user personas, including my one main “Reader Persona”, Clara:
My users were interested in exchanging books but the majority of them didn’t want to contact in person with other users. That is why we started to think about physical places in which the users could exchange their books by leaving them and picking new ones, and an digital product (mobile app) that shows those places and allows the users to see which books are in each exchange point.
But, which are those exchanging points?
The “microtecas”: Bars and cafes in which their staff controls the exchange of books.
But why bars and cafes?
Spain is the country of bars. It has more bars per inhabitant (175 inhabitants per each bar), around 275,000. And we spend a lot of time there, 41% of the Spaniards go to bars at least once per week.
If our users don’t have time to read, let’s bring the books to those places in which they spend more time.
The idea seemed to fulfill the necessities of our users and solve their painpoints, but it had their own problems:
- The cataloguing of books that were introduced in the system for the first time was complicated.
- The control of the status of the books introduced in the system is also a problem.
That is why I pivoted to the final idea: a Service of small libraries located in bars and cafes that work as ordinary libraries, with a small catalogue of books managed by the staff of each bar and cafe.
Users can access through an app to these microtecas, see their catalogue and reserve a book to take it as a book lending. In addition, the app makes reading suggestions to users.
Creating the prototype
Once we reached our solution, we needed to build it into a product. Once we defined the information architecture through a site map tested with a card sorting with five users, we defined the user flow of our user in which he fulfills a task: to look for a book and reserve it.
We create a low fidelity prototype in paper that we test with five users. Afterwards, we iterate our design and digitalize our protoype with Sketch:
Time for visuals
Once we have created and tested our mid-fidelity prototype, it’s time to work on the visuals. In order to do so we create a moodboard in which we get inspiration from books and libraries.
And now a little bit of branding. In this project we wanted to play with the concepts “library” and “life”, as we wanted to bring the books to the place in which they spend a really important part of their lives, and that is how we came up with LifeBrary.
And after defining the visual style of our product, we applied it to the mid fidelity prototype. This is the result:
I started this project thinking that I already had the solution for my users, and I discovered that I was wrong. It is really important to assume nothing, open your mind and listen to your users.
I feel really proud of the project’s evolution, its iteration and the constant communication with users in order to define LifeBrary.
Thanks to all those persons who helped me through this process, they are as much responsible as me of this project :)
Doubts? Questions? Please feel free to ask.
This article was originally published in Spanish here.