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Zine

Zine is a mobile app that provide book readers a streamline search experience to find a title of a book in various formats in multiple market channels (library & retail).

Role: UX/UI Designer    |     Project Type: Individual       Program: Figma

Problem

Libraries served over 274 million digital books to cardholders in the last couple of years. This had made  users be on the waiting list for several months to check out one ebook. In addition, the cumbersome process to check out from the library made it difficult to easily download ebooks directly to digital devices.

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01. Research

To learn and understand more about the users in the field, I used secondary resources to understand their habits, preferences, and motivations. Some research questions that I wanted to find were:

  • When readers are looking for a title, where do they search first?

  • Do readers buy books or borrow books from the library?

  • If readers borrow books from the library, do they encounter any challenges?

  • What do readers do if the book that they want to borrow has a long waitlist? 

Secondary Research: Survey

From Pew Research Center survey results, it revealed e-book readers' habit, behavior, and preference from a quantitative perspective.

Key Insights:

  • E-reader device users were more likely than non-users to purchase their own copies of both print and e-books.

  • Preference between digital and printed format depends on lifestyle scenarios.

    • Prefer printed format when reading to children and sharing books with others.

    • Prefer digital format to get a book quickly, traveling or commuting, and looking for a wide selection.

Secondary Research: Interviews

Next, I analyzed interviews conducted by Pew Research Center and Overdrive to understand what readers think and how they feel about their experiences. I narrowed them into 3 key insights: 

Finds alternate solutions

Since I get most of my books from the library I have found that often one form is overlooked. An ebook may have a long waiting list while the paper or audio form is available to check out today... I try to find all the options and choose the shortest.” (Source:  Pew Research Center)

E-book for convenience, printed books to keep

​”A lot of people use the library to check out a e-book initially, and then buy copies for themselves for the books they love. I have been that person!” (Source: Overdrive)

Virtual library is cumbersome

"It’s hard to find out what books are available as e-print, it’s hard to know if they are available for check out, and the actual check out process involves multiple steps." (Source: Overdrive)

Online Forum: onlinebookclub.org

I looked at an online forum for book readers to continue to learn more about their habits. The three discussion topics that I looked at were:  e-book vs printed book, opinions on e-book pricing, and finding  e-books.

What I Learn:

Owns both printed and digital format

“I would definitely have both versions; a paperback and an ebook version. I actually do have a few books that I have both versions of. I love those books too much that I actually bought an eBook of it so that I can reread it over and over..."

More willing to purchase printed format than digital

“..want ebooks either super cheap or free because they aren't tangible products we hold in our hands the way a physical book is so somehow they seem less valuable. I find myself much more willing to buy regular books full priced and usually only get ebooks on sale or borrow them from my library.” ​

Long wait list = Purchase book instead

“The waiting list is sometimes very long for a particular book or audiobook. In these cases I usually just purchase it.

02. Define

Meet the User

How can I provide Kindle users a streamline experience to borrow books and browse through alternative solutions to accommodate their active lifestyle?

Challenge

Solution

A mobile apple that allows users to search through multiple market channels (library and retail database) to accommodate users who wants to buy or borrow books in various format.

03. Ideate

Before I started creating the wireframes, I sketched out initial core screens that show the features that the users would interact with.

Wireflow

I created mid-fidelity wireframes to lay out the screens that users would go through when interacting with the app. This allows me to visually see the user flows of how the users will use the app to achieve their goal.

How Will Users Use the App?

I created a storyboard of how users may the features on the app to visualize a potential experience that would make the search process more efficient to fit in their active lifestyle.

UI Design Inspirations

For my color palette, I was inspired by the colors from the Antelope Canyon. The soothing warm and cool colors give it  a sense of enlightenment and comfort, which represents how reading can make people feel. Having a clean and simple interface is what I value as a designer so there was no hesitation that those would be the foundation of the design. I also added illustrations  to give it a more playful and "human touch" to tie in with the casual activity.

Style Guide

04. Test & Iterate

5 participants were given a set of tasks to test out the usability of the app. They also provided feedback on the UI design to make my design iterations.

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Educate Users

Even though participants were able to navigate through the app, they prefer to have a guideline to understand the functions and benefits of the app before using it.

Improve UX Language

The choice of words for the CTA button on the search result page and the borrow page were unclear.

Provide distinctive CTA buttons

The current design for the buttons does not distinctly show there are 2 options  to select from

Improve Search Efficiency

Add the search feature as a main feature to additional pages, so users don't need to go back to the homepage.

Iterations

I made iterations to the design to improve the user interface and user experience based on the feedback that I received.

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Educate Users

I designed onboarding screens that new users would go through after the sign-up stage. The onboarding process will introduce the features to help them understand the app.

Improved UX Language

I changed "Search Prices" to "Shop" and "Place on hold" to "Add to waitlist."

 Differentiate CTA Buttons

I selected an additional colors from the style guide to display the options to visually show there are 2 user flows.

Improved Search Efficiency

I added a search icon at the top of the book page. Clicking on the icon, takes users to the search page, where they can search for a title or change libraries.

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04. Deliever

Walkthrough

Readers who uses a Kindle can link their Amazon account to the Zine App. This allows users to download the ebook from the library to their Kindle device. In the walkthrough, the user's Amazon account has already been set up.

Tasks

  1. Add library card

  2. Select Los Angeles Public Library as main library to search in

  3. Search the title, Gone Girl

  4. Take a look at the  the summary of the book

  5. Find how much a paper book cost

  6. Check to see if the ebook is available in the library to borrow

  7. Borrow ebook

Conclusion

There are several things I would change if I were to continue for this project. I would recruit participants to do the survey and interview while using the secondary research as a set of assumptions to validate. It would help provide a deeper understanding of the needs and pain points of the target audience. Also, I would do a usability test to see if users understand the concept.

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