Singulars

Creating an Engaging E-commerce Platform for Book Enthusiasts and Independent Bookstores.
Field
Bookstore E-commerce
my role
As a solo designer, I was responsible for the entire product design lifecycle, from initial research to the final prototype.
Project time
3 weeks

Project Overview

Singulars is a case study that revolves around a unique online platform designed to bring together independent bookstores, avid readers, and literary enthusiasts. The project aims to provide a seamless and inspiring experience for book lovers while supporting and promoting local, independent businesses. This case study outlines my end-to-end involvement in creating the Singulars platform, from research and ideation to prototyping.

The Challenge

The world of online retail has transformed the way people shop for books, often overshadowing independent bookstores. These local gems struggle to compete with larger online retailers, lacking the necessary resources to establish a significant digital presence. The challenge was to bridge this gap by creating a platform that would aggregate independent bookstores, facilitate book discovery, encourage community engagement, and streamline the purchasing process.

The Solution

The Singulars platform was designed with a user-centric approach, focusing on simplicity, discoverability, and community engagement. Leveraging the insights gained from research, I crafted a seamless user flow and site map that enabled effortless navigation and intuitive browsing. The platform incorporated features such as personalized book recommendations, user-generated reviews and ratings, curated lists, and a calendar of literary events. These elements aimed to create an immersive and dynamic reading experience for users.

Discovery & Research

Desktop Research

In order to create a successful Singulars project, it was important for me to understand the reading habits and preferences of our target audience. To gain valuable insights, I conducted extensive research using a study called "Hábitos de lectura y compra de libros en España," a study conducted in 2022 by Conecta for the Federación de Gremios de Editores de España (FGEE) in 2022. This research provided valuable information about how people read, their book preferences, how they make book purchases, and more. By integrating these insights into the design and strategy of Singulars, my goal was to build a platform that truly resonated with readers and fulfilled their specific needs.

1. Reading Habits:

  • The study revealed that a remarkable 96.1% of individuals aged 14 or older engage in regular reading, indicating a substantial potential audience for Singulars.
  • Press and books emerged as the materials with the highest number of readers, with rates of 71.9% and 68.4% respectively.
  • Men show a preference for newspapers, web, blogs, forums, and comics, while women lean more towards books and magazines.
  • Higher education level corresponds to a higher proportion of leisure book readers.

2. Reasons for Not Reading:

  • Lack of time and disinterest are the main reasons for not reading books.

3. Sources of Book Recommendations:

  • Friends and family recommendations are the main source of information for new books (54,2%)
  • Internet searches contribute to book recommendations (39.3%).
  • Social media also plays a role in book discovery (21.8%).

4. Preferences in Book Formats:

  • The research indicated that 76.7% of readers engage with literature, with novels and short stories being the most popular genres (70.6%).
  • Paperback books emerged as the preferred format for 53.0% of readers, while 28.5% opted for pocket-sized books, and 18.0% chose digital formats.

5. Book Purchasing:

  • Traditional bookstores are the primary channel for leisure book purchases (69.9%).
  • Online purchases account for 44.0% of book purchases.
  • Bookstore chains are chosen by 33.3% of buyers.
  • Theme, author, and recommendations from friends and family are influential factors in book purchases.
  • Physical formats, such as traditional paperbacks and pocket-sized books, are still the most common choices.

6. Digital Book Purchases:

  • Digital book readers tend to be younger and have higher education levels.
  • This group consumed a higher volume of content, including newspapers, social media, websites, blogs, and forums.

7. Book Purchase Trends:

  • The average number of books purchased per year has slightly increased, highlighting a growing interest in book buying.
  • Leisure book purchases continued to rise, with a particular preference for literature genres (58.6%).

User Research

I conducted 8 interviews with potential users, including book readers and bookstore owners, to learn more about their needs and preferences. These interviews helped me understand how people engage with books and what challenges they face. By speaking directly with book enthusiasts and industry professionals, I gained insights into their habits, interests, and goals.

Based on these interviews, I created user personas, which are fictional representations of typical users. These personas reflect the characteristics and experiences of our target audience. By understanding our users better, I could design the Singulars platform to meet their specific needs.

The information I gathered from the interviews also guided my decisions on user journeys, feature development, and overall design. By keeping our users in mind, I aim to create a platform that is easy to use and enjoyable for everyone.

Personas

Through a series of 8 interviews with potential users, including book readers and bookstore owners, I gained valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and challenges. These interviews provided a deep understanding of how people engage with books and allowed me to uncover the habits, interests, and goals of book enthusiasts and industry professionals.

Based on these interviews, I developed three user personas that represent typical users within our target audience. These personas serve as fictional representations of our users, reflecting their characteristics and experiences. By comprehending our users better, I could design the Singulars platform to meet their specific needs and provide a tailored experience.

Journey Map

Guided by the information gathered from the interviews, I carefully crafted user journeys that map out the interactions and touchpoints users have with the Singulars platform. By analyzing the challenges and preferences identified during the interviews, I created a journey map that illustrates the steps users take from initial engagement to the successful accomplishment of their goals.

The insights gained from the user interviews helped shape the user journeys and informed my decisions on feature development and overall design.

User Stories

In the Singular project, the user stories were invaluable for not only understanding the needs and goals of our personas but also for shaping the creation of user flows. These user stories served as a foundation for designing the paths and interactions that users would take within the platform. By aligning the user stories with the development of user flows, we ensured that Singular met the specific requirements and expectations of our users, resulting in a seamless and enjoyable experience.

Competitive Analysis

In this competitive analysis, I examined the landscape of online platforms and services related to the book industry, with a specific focus on Singular. The analysis encompassed both direct competitors, including Libelista and Todostuslibros.com, as well as indirect competitors, such as La Casa del Libro, Amazon, and GoodReads. Through this analysis, various features, functionalities, and approaches adopted by these platforms were explored, shedding light on their offerings and strategies.

Information Architecture

User Flow

In this user flow analysis, I explored the journey of users on the Singular platform. By examining the various stages and interactions within the platform, I gained valuable insights into the user experience and identified areas for improvement. The user flow analysis allowed me to understand how users navigated through the platform, interacted with its features, and accomplished their goals.

Site Map

By analysing the site map, I gained a comprehensive understanding of the different sections, pages, and functionalities within the website. The site map analysis allowed me to evaluate the user journey and the flow of information, ensuring a logical and intuitive navigation experience for users. Through this analysis, I identified the key sections and their relationships, ensuring that important content and features were easily accessible to users.

Interaction Design

Hi-Fi Wireframes

By utilising Hi-Fi wireframes, we conducted usability tests and gathered valuable feedback from users. This iterative process enabled us to identify any usability issues, make necessary adjustments, and enhance the overall user experience. With each iteration, we moved closer to achieving a design that met the expectations and needs of our target audience.

Prototype

The prototype of the Singulars platform provided a tangible representation of the envisioned product, allowing stakeholders and users to interact with and experience its features. It served as a crucial tool for testing, gathering feedback, and refining the design to ensure that the final product met the needs and expectations of our target audience. Furthermore, the prototype diligently incorporated the brand guidelines of Singulars, ensuring that the design elements, interactions, and overall aesthetic were in line with the established brand identity. The prototype played a pivotal role in validating the design direction, maintaining brand consistency, and guiding the successful development of the Singulars platform.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Singular case study has provided valuable insights into the design and development of an e-commerce platform that caters to the needs of book enthusiasts, independent bookstores, and the literary community. By creating detailed personas, mapping out user journeys, and conducting a competitive analysis, I have gained a deep understanding of our target audience and identified key features and opportunities to enhance the platform.

The next steps in the process involve translating these insights into action by creating a high-fidelity prototype and conducting user testing. By involving actual users in the testing phase, I can gather feedback, identify areas for improvement, and validate the effectiveness of my design decisions. Iterative testing and refinement will ensure that Singular delivers a seamless and engaging experience for its users.

Additionally, ongoing collaboration with independent bookstores, authors, and literary communities will be crucial in nurturing a sense of community and fostering meaningful connections within the platform. Regular communication and feedback loops will allow me to continuously improve and adapt Singular to meet the evolving needs of its users.

By combining user-centered design principles, technological innovation, and my deep passion for literature, Singular aims to revolutionize the way book lovers discover, connect, and support independent bookstores. I am excited about the potential of this platform to create a vibrant and inclusive literary ecosystem, and I look forward to bringing my vision to life through further development and user testing.