The App that Connects Like-Minded Readers

An Overview

Where do readers connect? How do they find each other? Where can they find trusted book recommendations from like-minded readers.

43 percent of Americans read more than six books per year. People read to be entertained, to learn, to escape, to relax and much more.

Research found readers have difficulty finding trusted book recommendations and would prefer to read a book that is recommended through like minded readers. But where to start?

The Assumptions

  1. Readers want to talk about books, but often don’t have friends with similar reading habits
  2. Readers like to find new authors and books with familiar styles and generas to previously enjoyed books
  3. Reaers don’t want to waste time with a bad book.

The Challenge

  • Create a produce that connects like minded readers.
  • Build a community of readers to facilitate trusted book recommendations between connections.


  • From conceptions to presentation was four weeks.
  • Zero budget.
  • Due to COVID-19, usability testing and interviews occur over zoom

Preliminary Research

The Qualifying Survey

  • Market/Category: Book Discovery
  • Target User: Any person who reads more than three books a year and seeks out book recommendations.

The qualifying survey enables us to recruit people for the interviews and usability tests. Qualifying users must have read more than three books in the last year and have read books based on recommendations.

The Interviews

I extracted over 100 data points from the user interviews. These were analyzed to determine user-problems in the space of book discovery.

Interview Goals: Understand the behaviors and pain points around book discovery.

5 User Interviews

Raw Data

The Synthesis

The topic with the most data points was Trusted Book Recommendations.

Key Insights

  • Users brows for books on social media or sales sites using their phone.
  • Users look at multiple sources for reviews before selecting a book.
  • Users want to chat about books to find new authors and novels.
  • Users must trust they will like a book before selecting it.
  • Users are more likely to read a book when it comes from someone they respect as a reader.

The Problem

The user needs a more trustworthy book discovery as users are going to multiple sources to select a book.

The Persona

“Every time I look at a book review, it’s on a page that is trying to sell me the book. I don’t trust it.”


  • Liz asks friends and family what books they are reading in hopes of finding a good book.
  • She won’t buy a book unless she knows she will like it.
  • Enjoys chatting about books just as much as reading.


  • An efficient way to discover new books
  • A community of readers to chat about books.
  • A way to vet book recommendations as trustworthy


  • Wants to chat about books with people who read regularily.
  • To open a book she knows she will like.
  • Find new authors and novels through trusted sources.

The Problem Space

The Business Models

Each main competitor has a mission of finding a book and purchasing it. There is no current product that facilitates socialization around books. In this space, book recommendations would be organic, trusted, and through social connections.

The Design

The Project Pinup

The project’s skeleton (preliminary research and synthesis) was presented to a group of 32 designers who critically analysed and provided notes on the key features that solved the users problem.

Key Takeaways

  • Clarify Trust as this is concept is different for every user.
  • Clarify the actual function of the app-is it an online book club or a book recommendation site.

What Inspired the Designs?

The User Flow

The Design

The Mid-Fi Wireframes

The key product feature is the questionnaire which first identifies the users reading habits and interests so that they can be matched with like minded users. Once the users have completed the initial survey, they can explore the apps three main features.

  • Book Discussions
  • Binds-matching with readers who have similar interests.
  • Getting trusted book recommendations.

Mid-Fi Usability Testing

Users completed five tasks and provided a satisfaction rating for each task. The usability tests identified one High Issue and one Medium Issue.

The Reports

High Fidelity

Moving into high Fidelity, a number of changes were made:

  • User more clear terminology regarding “interactions,” “discussions” and “binds.”
  • Decrease visual clutter
  • Ensure key words are highlighted in the discussions.
  • Add Signifiers to all icons
  • Remove the romantic undertones

Usability Tests

Next Steps

  • Expand usability testing to include more tasks and greater diversity of users
  • Do open card sorting to clarify labelling for navigation
  • Explore methods of monetization, particularly author sponsorship

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