Bookhive- A social platform for book lovers.
Jane is a creative working woman in London, who has many interests. Some of these are walking her dog on a bright sunny day and going to the pub with her friends. Though above all, she loves to read.
What’s the problem?
She often gets book recommendations from her friends. Some of which are authors and movie producers looking for inspiration and ideas for their next work. Jane is a sociable and kind individual, so she rarely turns down these recommendations. However, she does often find these books to be incredibly boring and totally NOT to her taste.
“Jane needs a way of finding books that are more suited to her taste, as she sometimes finds herself not finishing a book due to lack of interest”
It’s a calm Sunday Morning. You have no errands to run and have a whole day to spend at your leisure. You realise it’s the perfect time to read a book! You’re excited. But wait, first you need to find the right book. So as you would pick a movie on Netflix, you start by browsing the internet!
SEARCHES — *Top Fiction Books of 2018*
“Oh wait, this book is on my shelf!”
You find the book that was recommended by Google and begin reading. You get to page 50* and realise it is not to your liking and so decide to stop reading. At this point you have a few options. You could either repeat your steps of searching for a book or you could give up and do something else with your time. What would you do?
(Note, the pattern for starting a bad movie on Netflix has similar steps).
Well, let’s rewind
Like any problem, when we break down that journey, much more is revealed than we think! So after asking Jane a few questions, I was able to organise the information into the ‘Experience Map’ below. As we can see, her mood begins to dip when she realises that the book she is reading is not to her taste. Her mind begins to wonder, and she has decisions to make!
“All that excitement led up to this… Really?!”
So what does Jane need?
Well, Jane needed a way to search for the right book without reading hundreds of anonymous reviews. She appreciates the opinion of her friends and authentic critics. However, it would be nice to see what her network was reading without feeling obliged to read the same book!
In an Ideal Situation…
She would call a friend that uses Bookhive, which she would download to her mobile. All her problems would be solved- of course.
But wait! What is Bookhive?
Jane would be at the heart of this close-knit book community, which would comprise of her family and friends. Additionally, she could follow her favourite authors to see their frequent updates. The general concept is that she can easily view what her community is reading with a click of a button.
How do you know what your friends are reading? Most of the time, it comes up naturally in conversation, but what if there was a way that we could see constant updates of their reading statuses?
Testing with Paper
To map out my initial ideas, I quickly drew out prototypes on paper. By testing and redesigning, I was able to draft out the basic pages of the app for digital translation.
I then reiterated the design process, going up in fidelity each time. The image above shows how the home page evolved from paper prototype to high fidelity. Geometry plays a key role in conveying particular styles and purposes. I found that the bubble and circles were taking up more space than needed and were not as visually pleasing. Through research and design, I found that hexagons were much more suited to the network interface, as less space was wasted between, and it delivered the idea of a close knit community well.
Colours play a vital role in attracting the target users attention. In this case, I was sensitive to the questions I asked Jane in the interviews, in order to really understand her personality, likes and dislikes. The Moodboard below is a representation of her hobbies and habits. She cycles to work every morning, appreciates nature and always associates reading with a hot cup of tea. If I was to describe her style in a vehicle, she would be a classic car.
Branding the App
The moodboard helped me sum up my findings into three key words. These were then used to develop my high fidelity prototype. The feeling of a tight knit community came from ‘connection’. Jane admired the opinion of likeminded readers, which is where ‘reflection’ sprung from.
Moving forward, I would further improve ‘Bookhive’ by adding features that allowed the user to swap or borrow books. Meeting points could be arranged based on convenient spots between friends- making the app more interactive.