Product Design Process — Bambooks

Bambooks

There’s a popular saying that goes “If you want to hide information from a black man, put it in a book” however, studies have shown that low reading rates among Africans & their descendants is majorly due to low literacy levels and difficulty in accessing reading materials.

This article gives a high level view of the Product design process of Bambooks, a mobile product that aims to challenge this notion by leveraging on the improved rate of internet penetration & technological advancement in Africa to drive a reading culture.

Description

Bambooks is a digital library that offers users access to thousands of books, magazines, and comics from any internet-connected device.

Competition: Okada books, WattPad, Scribd

Project Brief

Design and develop a mobile product for a subscription-based digital library that makes it easy for users to read books, comics, and magazines on the go.

Deliverables

  • User research & Customer development
  • System design & feature list
  • Android app
  • iOS app

User Research

User Interviews: We conducted user interviews to help us understand the current experience users have while reading (ebooks & traditional books). This helped us understand their pain points and also gave insights to features that they would like to see.

Product reviews: To get a better understanding of the competition, we carried out product reviews on similar platforms to identify their strengths and weaknesses. We also gathered feedback from customers which included their favourite features and major pain points. Some of the information gathered include:

Some information/feedback gathered from similar products

After speaking with some prospective users and gathering feedback on competing/similar products, the following were identified as popular issues that users had with existing digital libraries:

  • Poor app performance with below-average network connections.
  • Difficulty finding content they like
  • Difficulty reading books on various screen resolutions, lighting conditions e.t.c
  • Difficulty accessing books offline.
  • Difficulties Signing up / Logging in.

User Personas

Mariam Sanni
Chilemba Makena
Amarachi Nwosu

Feature List

After analyzing results from the user interviews & product reviews, we came up with this feature list:

  • Smart suggestion system: In a bid to give users a personalized reading experience, we designed a smart suggestion system that continuously learns from the user’s activities and generates book recommendations for them. The system leverages on BISAC codes to curate the best book recommendations for users based on their past reading experience. This ensures that users find books they like but still gives them the flexibility to discover new books.
  • Offline reading: The app features an offline mode that allows users to read books in poor internet conditions or the absence of it. This can really come in handy on those long road trips to the village or that 12-hour flight to the other side of the world.
  • Personal Library: Users can create and manage their own personal library. This can be used to save books to read later or keep track of books they’ll like to read again.
  • Flexible reader: The app features a customizable reader that allows users to set the best reading conditions for themselves. This includes changing the font type, size, reader theme, scroll view (horizontal or vertical) e.t.c. It also allows users to adjust the brightness & contrast, bookmark pages, highlight words and make notes on them.
  • Subscription Payment: The platform runs a subscription model that gives users access to an unlimited amount of books within the subscription period. This gives them more value for their money as they are limited only by the available reading time they have.
  • Social media sign up/in: Users can sign up or sign in to the app quickly and easily using their favourite social media accounts.

Wireframes & Mockups

Wireframes and mockups

Interactive Mockup — https://share.protopie.io/hxx9GdNgCcW

Tools

User interface and interactions — Protopie

Wireframes — Balsamiq

Team

Eko Adetolani — Product & Project management

Busola Akomolede-Balogun — Strategy & Product Management

Uche Ndububa — UI & UX

Ugo Okoye — Strategy

Product Delivery

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bambooks

iOS: https://apps.apple.com/ng/app/bambooks/id1435144284

I enjoy building useful things | Product & user-centered design expert | Serial builder | Artist | Software Dev | Lagos, Nigeria | https://twitter.com/Eko__A