BBBOOK Reading Platform

In order to help university students to have more support about reading and learning during the Covid-19 pandemic time, our team has decided to make a digital reading platform, where students can do the collaborate as well when they are reading tough content. This is a student venture project.

Time

May – Aug 2020

Team Project

My role

UX Designer & Researcher

Product Manager

tools

Figma; Sketch; Adobe Illustrator; Adobe Photoshop

Responsibilities & Achievements

  • Responsible for conducting user research and market research, mapping user journey, creating personas, building a site map, creating wireframes and high fidelity UI mockups, doing usability testings.
  • Collaboration with the developer and project manager. Support project management’s work.
  • Achievements: The team delivered a functional prototype and received $100,000 in pre-seed funding from First Fund Company by the end of the term. (Update: The team set up the company and keep updating the product demo recently)

Define Problems

University students often have difficulties in understanding certain contexts or concepts while reading academic books, papers, or articles on their own and lack the ability to quickly and easily seek out clarification. Searching for answers online can often take a lot of time and lead to information overload.

Besides, all universities have become online learning right now, which increases the difficulty of communication between students and students, students and teachers, thus affecting the quality of students’ learning.

Our goal is to increase the collaboration of reading, help students to understand the reading contents quickly and easily.

Research Findings

By conducting survey results and interviews with university students from different majors, we found out nearly 95% of students have difficulties when they are reading textbooks. However, only 34% of students would actively figure out the difficulties by asking people or searching online, most of the students would just leave it because trying to find answers requires much more cost. And more than 50% of them don’t want to ask professors or classmates each time through email.

This research helped us confirmed the problem and reasons.

Oppoturnity

There are some similar products on the market right now, there are three major types: reading platforms, collaboration tools, and note-taking tools. 

By investigating those products, we found out there is no collaborative product special designed for textbooks/papers reading. 

Pain Points & Solutions

After analyzing the user journey, I found out the pain points that the students are facing right now. Based on the needs, I provided solutions.

Pain points:

  • Need to switch from books and note-taking tools. 
  • Easy to get distracted during the reading.
  • Not sure to get an accurate answer from the Internet.

Solutions:

  • Combine note-taking and reading.
  • Put answers/insights for the book in the reading experience.
  • Create the group to gather professional experts.

Target Users

According to the research, we’ve divided our target user group into two different types: 1. Active learners who always want to enrich their knowledge by reading more materials. 2. Passive learners who just read for passing a course or getting a good grade. Whether the users are active or passive, the product is focused on ease of learning for all types of students through collaborative learning methods.

 

User Journey

Then I mapped out the user journey of the process of users on our reading platforms.

 

Development - Information Architecture

I built the ideal version of the site map. Then we scale down to only focus on the MVP part.

 

Development - Wireframes

Consider of the time constrain and workload, we decided only to develop the MVP first and test it out. So, I designed the MVP wireframes. This was revised several times, here are part of them. 

Development - Prototype

Then, I made the interactive prototype of MVP with the UI design. The prototype is made with the key features:

Group features/comments and questions area in the book/ note-taking

Figma link:

https://www.figma.com/proto/yLFr9ocjwyvpiD2G971gaa/BBBOOK_CDM-Test-Prototype?node-id=1%3A2&scaling=scale-down&page-id=0%3A1

Testing

I’ve conducted several times usability tests and analyzed feedback. I’ve tested the MVP and key features with different scenarios:

Reading books with other people’s comment (read with multiple people); highlighting and ask questions while reading; group discussion feature; interface design; etc.

We validated that our solution did could help students to understand better of the reading. However, since it’s a community product, it also highly depends on the quality of users as well.  

UI Mockup

Showcase Video

Value & Future Development

We also did some research about the market. Based on recent data there are about 2.21 million students in postsecondary education. In 2020-2021, Canada government is projected to spend about $15.7 Billion on postsecondary education. This project has potential business value.

However, there are some difficulties before the product is actually being used as well. One of them is how to get the book resources, we have thought about identify the book’s ISBN number or support users to upload their own files, neither of them is good enough. The best way would be find the collaboration with the school libraries and they can provide the resource. 

Another difficulty is to validate the content that users post, it requires algorithms and manual audit system. We have thought several ways to solve it. For example, we will add the “Report” system and “Like” system to let users choose the content they want to read.

Takeaways

This is the first time I finished a project without even meet the teammates in person. Since the course became online course, we also need to work remotely, which is a brand new experience to me.

The most difficult thing for me is the ideation stage, I missed whiteboard and stickers. However, we still try our best.

In this project, I spent much more time on the research part which helps me able to understand the problems better. 

Update

After getting the investment, BBBOOK has hired programmers to develop the new version of the demo. The team is also actively finding the corporation with universities. In order to be ready for use as soon as possible, the design was changed several times later. I’ve helped the team for the new design and features. I made the new UI design and guideline, also the official website.

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