Helping people to be life-long learners

Learning is traditionally thought to be the domain of youths. Once inside the professional life, people hardly find time to learn in their free time.
What if this was different? What if we could help everyone to be a life-long learner?
koober

What is Koober?

Koober's vision is to inspire people to progress. Through concise and applicable abstracts, it allows people to understand the best of non-fiction books.

Challenge

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.

Team

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.

Role

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.

Research

Objective: continuous research → 5 user calls per week + 1 user-test per week

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Story of one user test

When I met a user over coffee, she told me before leaving:

— I'm going to read a new book on my way home. 

— Can you show me how you are going to do that? 

— Sure, let me find something interesting to read.

~~~


After browsing for a moment in the app:

— Actually, this is too painful. I couldn't find something that caught my attention. I'm changing my mind, I'll listen to music instead.

Lessons learned

‣  Koober is competing against music and other ways to distract people during their commute.
‣  The commute is the perfect time of day where Koober can fit. Therefore keeping the articles concise is very important.
‣  Discovering new books on the app is too painful.
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Strategy

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.

Solution

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Before

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.

After

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.

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Simplifying the architecture

‣  The word books was written 3 different times in navbar. This wasn't helping people to identify the different sections
‣  People couldn't find the Highlights feature, even though it's an important part of the experience, especially to remember and apply in real life
‣  Latest Adds and Current Book were not often used. To discover new books people would go in All Books ; to resume their reading they would go to My Books

Actions taken

‣  Merge All Books and Latest Adds and name it Discover
‣  Put the search on every screen. In My Books, users can look for a book more easily if they have a huge list
‣  Put Highlights in the navbar to make it part of the experience. It helps with assimilation of content, which is essential to learning and applying in real life.
‣  Suppress Current Book and make it part of My books using a default sort by last read

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.