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Mobile iOS

Project Details

Team: Solo Project
Role: User Researcher, UX Design, Interaction Design & Visual Design
Skills: Figma (Design + Prototype), Whimsical (Wire-framing), Design Thinking, Product Design
Method: Qualitative + Quantitative
Time Frame: 2 weeks (Oct. 2020)
Wireframe, Flow Chart, Competitive Analysis, Recommendations

Why the Goodreads App?

Privileged individuals are reading more during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the increased flexibility WFH brought to their daily lives.

Goodreads is held close to many bibliophiles' hearts, but the mobile app falls short in being designed for a user. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers and recommendations. Their mission is to help people find and share books they love.

Background Research

Goodreads has built a strong brand for itself so its 4.8+ star rating on the iOS app store is not surprising. To start my research, I scanned different reviews left by users to get a general idea of the different problems in the current mobile experience. I used the different filters from most helpful, most favorable, most critical, and most recent to gauge a holistic perspective.

What Did I Learn?

Many users voiced their displeasure for the mobile app because the app seems outdated for its time. There were general complains about the limitations of the mobile app like only being able to see quotes from the internet instead of the app itself, evolving expectations as users become increasingly high in levels of tech-savviness, and frustrations of jumping through multiple pages/apps from finding a new book and purchasing it through their Amazon account.


The therapeutic value of books can be derived from the act of reading as much as from the moral of a story or the distraction it might provide. Just as a body acclimates to new elevation, those who are sheltering in place will adjust to a highly restricted new normal. The opportunity lies deeper than a redesign of the product itself, but more within leading a more immersive experience of the product: a complete absorption in an activity, a traffic of ideas between writer and reader, an intimate mingling of voices and experience.

Competitive Analysis

From the competitive analysis there were three things that the above apps were doing well that the Goodreads app was missing:

  • Accurate algorithms that recommended books I was actually interested in. Libby specifically asked to complete a quiz to select genres that I enjoy to help fine tune their recommendations.
  • Modernized UI; everything from the size of the icons, typeface, and use of white space were easy on the eye.
  • Seamless integration from seeing a book to a final purchase or placing it on hold for pick-up.


New User Flow


Lo-Fi Exploration
Mid-Fi Exploration
Final Prototype (Beta)

Key Changes

Reflections + Feedback

Designing for a real-world product that is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations, I honed my design-thinking skills and now have a better knowledge of current industry practices. In retrospect, this design project could have benefitted from a more systematic testing and interview process, stronger data visualization, and a proper design system. Those three aspects will help further quantify and improve the effectiveness of the product’s design made for readers all around the world.


100% Goodreads mobile iOS users
• 10 focus group participants
• US only
62.9% females
37.1% males
• Avid readers (finish ~40+ books/year)
• Almost daily use of Goodreads mobile app

Supporting Research