Finding the Book Beneficiary
Recently I moved, and I had a plethora of books with no idea how to give away
within the limited time that I had in hand. I was stressed. All my books were in very good
condition. That involved my collection of some of the hard bound anthologies, my kids books
which they had outgrown, and many many more. I reached out to local library but they weren't
accepting any donations that time. I asked my friends and they helped me by taking most of the
books but I was sure that there could be many people who were really needing some of my books
but I had no way to reach out. I was greatful to my friends but eager to know how I can find the
book beneficiary who is looking for a book that I wish to give away.
The Challenge - The magic in 8 weeks
HOW TO FIND PEOPLE WHO ARE EAGER TO GET A BOOK THAT YOU NO LONGER NEED?
HOW TO FIND PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN GIVING AWAY BOOKS?
My high level goals were to:
Easy and Quick user experience for all users
Provide upto date information on the various options to get rid of books
Educate users on recycling guidelines for books
Designing right from conceptualization till the end product in just 8 weeks, made
me wear many hats as a Business Analyst, User Interface Designer, Web Developer, Copywriter,
User Experience Manager, Tester and a Project Manager. Developing a project plan was crucial and
I decided to follow IDEO’s human-centred Design and Lean UX Design Thinking Process to make sure
that design decisions are supported by feedback.
Many library branches, or their associated nonprofit
programs, take donations only during specific times of the year. Libraries may not have the room
or immediate need for the donations, and your books will end up unused (albeit in a different
Selling used books online or with used book stores
requires a lot of patience. The efforts are not worth the monetary returns. Resource : google
search results, blogs, yelp.
Little Free Library ("take a book, return a book" hub).
However resources shows that, that wasn't always (or even often) the case. There's a lot of
taking with no returns, so a Little Free Library in your neighborhood — or starting one of your
own — could go a long way. https://www.salon.com/2020/01/18/five-ways-to-recycle-your-unwanted-books/
Recycling of books and magazines needs to follow
the process of recycling which involves cost. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_U6UuFLEGQ
Findings from above online blogs and Facebook shares:
How to find people who will cherish books that I’m giving away
No idea how to find people who are interested in giving away their book treasure
Anyone interested in books that are old but are in great condition
No upfront up to date information on which organizations are accepting book donations
Deeper Insights - Survey, User Interviews
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.
User interviews were conducted to collect firsthand personal accounts of experience,
opinions, attitudes and perceptions.
6 user interviews roughly for about 30 minutes in conversational format were conducted over
zoom and recorded.
Unique and diverse perspective was added because of interviewees varied income levels, ages
and geographical locations.
The questions to interviewee were related to their journey right from buying new or used
books until getting rid of them.
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
With good research findings and data, affinity diagrams helped me to analyze and
synthesize user research findings by patterns and themes.
Reframing the Problem
IS NO EASY AND EFFICIENT WAY TO CONNECT
BOOK DONORS WHO WISH TO GIVE AWAY THEIR USED HARD COPY BOOKS
WITH THE RECIPIENTS WHO
NEED THE BOOKS.
It was confirmed that there is no connection between the donor and the
beneficiary and there is a strong desire to give away books to someone who will cherish them or
has a real need for them. Lack of knowledge of possible options of book donotion leads to
frustration and wasted time. Recycling of books is not the first choice.
WE HELP BOOK DONOR AND BENEFICIARY TO GET CONNECTED?
Entry and Exit Points
A book donor's perspective
After through understanding of users and their inflation points, I worked on User
flows and lo-fi wireframes that helped 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 transferred these lo-fi wireframes into Figma. Due to COVID, it wasn’t
to conduct in-person paper prototype, I showed working prototype to the users. This early
feedback from real users was extremely useful to test initial ideas early.
for taking photograph of many
books barcode at a time were right in front on the screen when camera view was opted
the users. This made the process intutive to the users.
category was introduced and also added
listview and map view that matched users mental model.
Based on the
feedback, removed the screen that
showed explicit options to Give Away and Get Books and the users were able to land
the Get books screen immediately after successful login. That made the process faster, clearer and reduced the number of clicks.
The color palette was chosen based on the theme of environment, sustainability and soothing. Making sure that the color combinations are simple and at
same time are not confusing for color blind users.
Typography plays a crucial role in the success of a new design. A font was
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. With the available time, 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 new users. I think this
combination worked well to get deeper insight and to identify serious problems if any.
Participants were given a set of tasks.
This thesis project was a good learning experience for me. Especially, designing
with limited time and resources was thought-provoking. It required me to think creatively in
short time frame. Also, I learned about doing just enough research to get the project going.
These scenarios are very much similar to corporate projects where you are often limited by
Continue with user interviews and keep refining the product and its features.
Introduce shipping experience which will allow book donors to complete shipping process at
ease and quickly with less clicks.
Integration with Alexa so that the users can search for a book or users will get
notification as a book is available from their wishlist, as well as reminders for book