Bhuku

UI/UX Design
Challenge
To create a user-friendly and user-centric application that will help users enhance the way they organize and discover books (paper based and digital).
Solution
Bhuku is an iOS app that helps users stay connected with people who have similar taste in books, explore books from users' preferences (genre, authors), and manage and track books.
Tools
Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
Team
Self Directed, with guidance from mentor
Role
UI/UX Designer
Duration
80 hours
DISCOVERY
Market Research
In order to establish the demographics, and to determine the frustrations and motivations of the market, I performed a market research based on existing surveys and research about people who read books from Japan:
  • People in their 20s and 30s read books, monthly, more than any other age group.
  • However, in terms of raw number, people in their 30’s are the majority who read books monthly, followed closely by people in their 50’s and 40’s.
  • When asked about which form of books they read with, 73.8% said they read only physical books.
  • One important factor why people's reading time increase yearly is because they discover more books that they want to read.
  • People become interested in buying books when a best seller book goes viral, when they see ads from magazines or newspapers, or when they get recommendation from people around them.
DISCOVERY
Competitive Analysis
After identifying current competitors, and spending time with their products, one common weakness that all these products have is the lack of simplicity of navigation within the application. There wasn't a clear progressive flow of actions within the app, which is brought by the lack of distinction of important elements, and inconsistent visual presentation of key action items.
DISCOVERY
1:1 Interviews
To help me understand more about the users and get a glimpse of their experiences when it comes to reading books, I completed interviews from 5 different interview participants. In order to gain insight on people's experience with book management apps, and what important factors motivate them to read, I focused on asking questions such as:
  • How they discover books.
  • How they keep track of their books.
  • What's the importance of sharing books with other people.
  • How their experience with other book management products/services are.
RESEARCH SYNTHESIS
Empathy Map
After completing the interviews I wrote down all of the responses on sticky notes and began to cluster them based on topic. One of the points that we have discovered in our market research is that people are motivated to read books when they discover more books that they want to read, and this proves true with our 1:1 interviews; Participants showed that one thing that affects their motivation to read books is related to book discovery. Below, I have grouped interview responses with similar topics, and allowed me to discover trends and patterns from which insights could be constructed; From these insights, I also have generated the users' needs:
Pattern 1: Genres/Topics
"I mostly visit a bookstore and go to sections or topics that I’m interested in, and check random titles."

One pattern that formed from the participants' responses was about having a specific topic or genre that they're interested in when looking for books to read. They always have a topic in mind, and from there, they try to dig more.

Insight: People have specific topics that they are interested in when it comes to books.

Need: People need to discover books about topics that they are interested in.

Pattern 2: Social experience
"I usually share books with people close to me, when we hang out together. Like with my college friends, we have a Facebook group where people share books that they like."

Participants' trusted social connections is one way they usually discover books. They value these people's opinions, who have the same taste in books as them. Also, in turn, they also value the experience of sharing their own thoughts, about certain books, to their social connections.

Insight: People value other people’s insights about their experience about books.

Need: People need to connect with other people and talk about their experiences in reading.

Pattern 3: Recommendations
"I would use book tracking apps maybe if there were smart recommendations, like how Spotify creates playlists or recommends similar artists. Or if it tells me that people are reading similar books."

The last pattern was about how participants are motivated to read books (and even to use book tracking apps) when they receive book recommendations either from their friends, families, and even external sources like different media, and services.

Insight: People are motivated to read books when they receive book recommendations.

Need: People need book recommendations from different sources.

RESEARCH SYNTHESIS
User Persona
I then created a user persona, Hannah, who represents the whole discovery phase. Referring back to her during the design process helps me stay aligned with user goals and remind me of the problems I need to solve for users.
DEFINE & IDEATE
POV statements and HMW questions
Now that I have understood Hannah's needs, I created the POV statements that would allow me to empathize with her and focus on her, giving me the right framing on defining our problem statement. From these POVs, we create HMW questions, which directly address Hannah's needs, to help us generating focused ideas.
INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE
App Sitemap
Building from the business and user goals I have determined the important features for the product, and created an app map that includes the main screens and features to have a clear structure of content within the app.
PROTOTYPING
Interaction Design: Mid-Fidelity Prototype
I translated my sketch into digital wireframes and added interaction between frames to produce an interactive prototype; This prototype will be used for testing. Mid Fidelity Wireframes were used for testing to quickly gain insights about the functionality and navigation within the app, and to be able to iterate on the designs at an earlier stage.
TESTING
Usability Testing
In order to test the overall quality and ease of navigation throughout the whole design, and to observe areas of errors/difficulties, I went out and had 5 total strangers (3 male, 2 female) interact with my prototype. Criteria for participants were based on the demographics from discovery phase (ages 20 - 39) and people who are regular book readers.
Summary of findings from 5 participants (3 male, 2 female):
  • Completion Rate: 100%
  • Error-free Rate: 92%
  • The errors occurred in Scenario 3, Task 1; Users weren't sure where to find the "Scan a book with camera" feature.
  • Most of the comments of the participants were positive, and the most used keywords were "simple", "easy", and "straightforward".
TESTING
Affinity Map
I created an affinity map to organize and synthesize the responses and observations I captured using testing. After grouping similar concerns/topics, I uncovered insights, and formed specific solutions for each:
Pattern 1: Ratings

Insight: People thought “ratings” displayed as just text was not clear.

Solution: To show ratings in a more detailed/clear way - adding iconography (stars)

Pattern 2: Views

Insight: People wanted to have options in how they view the books.

Solution: To give the users the option to switch to different ways to view the books.

Pattern 3: Redundant Information

Insight: People felt like listing the genre of the book in the quick summary, while it was listed with same-genre books was redundant.

Solution: To remove the genre under the quick summary of books when listed/displayed.

UI DESIGN
Branding: Logo
Bhuku's brand attributes are: Friendly, Fresh, Clean, Growth, Smart. Focusing on these, I played around with different sketches while checking out different logos for inspiration. The main idea basically revolves around a plant/leaf which represents fresh and growth, and exploring sketches that helps form the letter "B". After spending a couple of hours, I moved to Adobe Illustrator, chose 3 styles that I like best and vectorized them, eventually ending up with one that best represents Bhuku's brand.
I also tested the logo's visual design by checking its balance, color, and scalability, and recognizability.
UI DESIGN
High Fidelity Wireframes
Using the UI Kit, I applied the visual elements to the modified Mid Fidelity wireframes making up the High Fidelity wireframes which will be later on used for the Prototype.
Final Prototype
Takeaways
Prioritizing the most important features for a MVP, providing the users with an effective structure of content, and allowing simple navigation were the focus of this project. Having a simple and clear user interface, which is focused on the main task, while considering all the necessary features that the users need is what differentiates this app from its competitors.
Next Steps
1. Design Implementation and Handoff to the Development team using Zeplin.
2. Getting the app live
3. Maintenance - continue to iterate and test designs.

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