Online research was my first stop. I wanted to know what are the other options to get rid of books that are in good condition. I discovered that its a problem at large.
Then I started digging further and realized that it’s a BIG problem. As per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) almost 12% of books go to the landfill.
GOOD BOOKS NEED A SECOND LIFE THROUGH REUSE!
I also found from online blogs and facebook shares that:
In order to find book donor and book beneficieries attitudes and preferences, I conducted a survey and 54 participants responded. The data confirmed some of my assumptions.
And couple of important ones are
Insights from user interviews helped to create a story with steps that helped me to translate my findings into organized insightful journey maps both for book donor and beneficiary in the second stage.
Lets meet 40 yrs old professional Anna who never recycles books and is always looking for easy ways to give away her unwanted books.
Lets meet 64 yrs old Nan, a book beneficiary, who will be happy to get books in good condition for free.
With good research findings and data, affinity diagrams helped me to analyze and synthesize user research findings by patterns and themes.
Here is a glimpse of affinity diagram for FreeBoox.
HOW MIGHT WE HELP BOOK DONOR AND BENEFICIARY TO GET CONNECTED?
I did a competitive analysis of 4 popular general apps as well as 2 apps within that space namely Goodreads and ThriftBooks to see what was working, what can be improved and how I can reflect that within my own design.
I was interested in understanding how these apps seamlessly handle some of the important aspects like user trust, and social networking.
My tech tools goal were clear:
IS NO EASY AND EFFICIENT WAY TO CONNECT
BOOK DONORS WHO WISH TO GIVE AWAY THEIR USED BOOKS
WITH THE RECIPIENTS WHO NEED THE BOOKS.
I developed detailed user flow for book donor and book beneficiary
User Flow - A Book Donor
User Flow - A Book Beneficiary
After through understanding of users and their inflation points, user flows and lo-fi wireframes helped me to understand and overcome technical issues from development perspective, especially how I can make the process of entering books in large quantity efficient and quick for the user.
I was lucky to get early feedback on lo-fi that helped in the entire process. I made changes in the design based on the findings from early usability testing including accessibility issues reported.
From early usability testing I realized that Search was taking a lot of real estate and I went back to drawing board to refine it so that mobile real estate can be used wisely and crucial information is spaced above the fold.
With every change in the design I was mapping it against the thumb zone to ensure that most elements are easily accessible and not confusing.
Icons and Content play a vital role. During lo-fi prototype icons used to give away books and to get books were confusing to the users so I changed the design based on the feedback.
Give Away page was focused on how the book donor can give away his books quickly with less number of clicks. Based on user testing I realized that it needed more attention, that really made me think on how to make it intuitive and efficient to use.
I wanted to keep color combinations simple that will help improve the user experience. Which won’t be overwhelming to the eye and will make the content easier to understand. That’s why the color palette was chosen based on the theme of environment, sustainability and soothing.
Typography plays a crucial role in the success of a new design. A font was selected that optimizes readability, accessibility and usability, with overall graphic balance.
To address the gap between how I want my product to be received and how it is actually received, its key to understand users experience. I conducted usability test with Hi-Fi prototype over Zoom with 4 participants. Out of them 2 were the participants that I interviewed earlier and the other two were first time users. I think this combination worked well to get deeper insight and to identify problems. Participants were given a set of tasks.
It was good learning experience. Especially, designing with limited time and resources was thought-provoking. It required me to think creatively in short time frame.