Acaboo, reimagine studying — a product case

Reimagine education by providing students with a better way of studying.

Kent de Bruin
May 4 · 7 min read

Year: 2019
Company: Acaboo
Team: Acaboo is founded by a team of three founders; one responsible for business and sales, one developer, and myself as the designer/product manager.

Role: Co-founder & Head of Product. Did research and design of the entire project including user interviews, problem discovery, sitemaps, wireframes, prototyping, testing, graphic design, branding, and illustrations. Lead the frontend team, together with the CTO, to build out the frontend of the website.

Summary: I co-founded Acaboo, an interactive study book platform. We believe that the traditional format of educational study books is ready to be challenged. Acaboo started as a subscription study book service where students could read all their material online for a fixed monthly fee. Although we had over 80 customers we were still not solving the real problem. There is a reason why students don’t buy study books anymore. What is the real issue that students face when studying? We went back into user research to search for other user pains. We found that students have problems with studying. The rise of smartphones and new media asks more and more from students attention. Students have increasing problems with procrastination, lack of concentration and distractions. These distractions make it harder to study. How can we enable students to start on time? Can we guide them along the way? The result was a new approach to learning, completely online, where we help students to beat procrastination through gamification, social elements, and reward systems.


Acaboo

Currently, only 25% of University students buy new study books. They simply find them too heavy, expensive and inefficient. Luckily, the time where the professor and a study book were the only means of studying is over.

Dropbox for study books

Mikel thought he could do something about it. So he started this magical Dropbox with all the books of his course. Over 80% of the course joined so Mikel knew he was up to something and the idea of Acaboo was born. Together we three other students the team was formed and the journey began.

After a couple of months of hard work, the team launched the first pilot at a couple of studies at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The offer was simple. For an affordable monthly fee, students had access to all of their needed study material. All the books were available on our study book platform. Technology enables us to connect university and publisher content to provide students with all their books.

Moreover, we felt that we were not really bringing something new to the table. The linear format of a traditional book is well suited for narratives but not necessarily ideal for academic texts or scientific papers. The technology could enable us to do so much more with books than currently is the case.

Digital books up to now

“Reading (books) is such a physical thing. As designers we need to translate the feelings of nostalgia- the smell of a book, the texture of a page, the weight in your hand- into the digital world.” — Catherine Mao Kue

Exploring digital vs physical books

What is the problem?

How come that movies, newspaper, music, and (to some extent) books have evolved as a medium but innovation in traditional higher education has entirely stood still?

User research

We used Notion to keep track of the user interviews

Based on the interviews and multiple design sprints we got a great understanding of our target customer and corresponding needs.

Design thinking research

Persona

Persona David

Acaboo Product

Reshape education

Motivation enhancers

Standardized learning experience

Standardized learning experience

Website

Sitemap and UX

Wireframes

Course payment flow

Branding

Other logo itineraries
Branding guide and illustration sketches
Design of the website

Prototype

A prototype of the website

Developer handoff

Kent de Bruin

Hi, I’m Kent. I’m a designer, writer & entrepreneur based in Amsterdam.

Kent de Bruin

Written by

Designer, writer, entrepreneur. Tall and Dutch, based in Amsterdam. Writing makes me think 🧠

Kent de Bruin

Hi, I’m Kent. I’m a designer, writer & entrepreneur based in Amsterdam.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade