Breezr was a passion project that I had been thinking about for some time. As an avid book reader, I oftentimes find myself finishing a book and wondering to myself, "What should I read next?"
My goals for this project were to:
- Determine how e-book readers discover new books
- Design a mobile app that allows users to discover and read new books
UX Researcher, Lead UX/UI Designer
Sketch, Photoshop, InVision
Primary user research
In a Facebook group comprised of over 300 users coming from various backgrounds, I posted a message asking if anyone who used an e-book reader/app could take a quick survey for my project and I received 37 responses.
The goal of the survey was to gain a better understanding of how e-book users find new books to read and what motivates them. Some of the questions I asked were:
- How do you discover new books?
- Do you like to receive and give book recommendations?
- Do other people influence what books you read?
- Do you read multiple books at the same time or one at a time?
Of the 37 people I surveyed, 54% were under 30 years old. An additional 20% of survey participants were between 30-35 years old.
I also did literature research to see if the market for e-books on smartphone devices was feasible. The following statistics show that there is a clear trend that favors e-book reading on smartphones:
- More than 29% of U.S. adults already own a tablet or e-reader. This is up 2% from less than three years ago. [Source: Forbes]
- 54% of e-book buyers read books at least part of the time from their smart phones. [Source: WSJ]
- After the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, downloads in the Apple Book store have jumped from 28% to 45%. [Source: WSJ]
I studied popular reading apps on the market and created a matrix to compare different features:
The matrix was useful in helping me identify features that would add the most value to the Breezr app.
Of the reading apps that I studied, one of the features that stood out to me most was the Social Feed. Goodreads seemed to be the only app that successfully implemented this feature.
Considering the results that I found through surveys, which pointed to the significance of social reading, I chose to improve upon the Goodreads experience by adding the following features:
- Book discovery through lists curated by influential leaders
- In-app e-book purchasing to provide users with an all-in-one solution for e-book reading and sharing
- Gamification/ranking system to encourage more reading
The onboarding process was crucial for building a social environment for users from the get-go and was therefore designed in a way that instantly connects new users with colleagues, friends, and influential people:
Proof of concept
Breezr took the form of a social media platform for e-book readers, to allow users to discover new books through various avenues. It also give readers a place to purchase and read books.
Gamification is used to engage users in a fun and exciting way. With Breezr, I wanted to explore the effects of gamification in a social setting. I want to explore the following questions:
- What motivates users to read? Is it generally intrinsic or extrinsic?
- Can gamification be a potential motivator for users who are intrinsically OR extrinsically motivated?
- Will gamification increase reading rates within the app?
- What forms of gamification are most successful when it comes to reading?
Starting at the most basic level, I chose to incorporate a simple badge system, which allows users to earn badges for completing specific tasks. I wanted to see if badges were an effective way to motivate users to read more frequently.
In the future, I want to see if introducing a public leaderboard within friend circles encourages more reading. Would being compared to peers motivate users to read more? Competition is a historically successful gamification technique, but is this true for reading amongst friends and colleagues?