Koober wants to inspire people to progress. Through concise and applicable abstracts, it allows people to understand the best of non-fiction books.
Learning is an effort, just like when going to the gym or doing a diet. You know it's good for you, but you'd rather stay home and chill.
What I discovered during user-tests is that browsing the app to choose a book was also an effort. We couldn't ask for double-effort, we needed to fix the app so that people could focus their energy on what matters to them: progress.
The "gym" metaphor was a great empathy tool to communicate the challenge to the other teams.
As the only designer on the team, I did the User Research, UX Design and UI Design of the new app. I redesigned the app, simplifying the entire architecture and access to content.
I was working in a duo with the iOS Developer, including him in design decisions right from the beginning.
I was also discussing with the CEO, the content team and the growth team as I believe UX needs to take into account all the disciplines.
Objective: continuous research → 5 user calls/week, 1 user-test/week
When I met a user over coffee, she told me before leaving:
I'm going to read a new book on the way home.
I took the opportunity to do a quick usability test and asked her to show me how she would choose her new book.
After browsing a few minutes, she said:
Actually, this is too painful. I couldn't find something that got my attention. I'm changing my mind and will listen to music instead.
After mapping the experience we could identify a crucial point in the Retention loop.
The goal isn't to have people read as much as possible. It shortcuts the loop, which will flood people's mind with overwhelming info and result in no actual application in real life. This goes against Koober vision which is to help people grow.
Instead, we have to help them complete the full loop as fast as possible. To do so, we chose to tackle the Discover step to start off.
The previous interface was asking people to first choose a category, which was creating silos.
They then landed on a book list with no other clue, other than its title, to make their choice. The app was not helping the user to figure out whether the book is right for him/her, which induces a high cognitive load.
Silos + obscure content result in frustration for the users, who are going back and forth between 3 levels (Category – Book list – Book presentation screens). Discovering and choosing a new book was perceived as a cumbersome experience.
In the new app, the content is shown upfront and reorganized into specific themes.
To better help users decide, the collections' topics are meant to reflect upfront the challenges they might be facing in their lives. Adding book covers is an essential visual clue that helps reduce the cognitive load while being visually entertaining.
I also simplified the app architecture: this allowed us to go from 4 to 3 items in the navigation bar.
The solution took into account the limited resources of an early-stage startup. The UI could be broken down into components, which were easy to build for the developer, and easy to manage for the content team.