Goodreads Case Study

Goodreads is a web and mobile app that allows book lovers to keep track of books, gain personalized recommendations, and a social component allowing readers to connect with others. Based on the android version of the mobile app, I’ve developed a prototype with few updates. I’m not affiliated with Goodreads, but do use the app.

Process Overview

  • Research and usability testing
  • Synthesize research and prioritize areas of focus
  • Empathize with user 
  • Ideation- understanding current task flows and developing improved flows
  • Iteration - sketching wireframes and iterating on ideas
  • Prototype - creating final prototype and validation testing

Usability Testing

Guerrilla testing is an effective and quick way of learning about the challenges people face while using a product, while also going beyond what you already know.

  • Implementing this technique, I spoke and studied six random participants while they completed tasks, including searching for a new book and updating their digital library. None had used the app on the phone, a few had used it on their  desktop.

Insights & Prioritization

Synthesizing the research gathered from the testing, I was able to uncover a several points of uncertainty for each user. I then compiled similar issues together with an affinity map. Instead of solving for each one of those issues, I decided to prioritize according to user needs, business needs and time.  In order to make use of this, I also did a bit of internet research about Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads.

I focused on the following problems:

  • Finding the search button was not intuitive
  • After a search, adding an completed book, with only “want to read” option visible.
  • Changing books from shelf to shelf was confusing

Empathizing with user

Keeping the user in mind at every step of the way is essential to the process of product design. I can gain empathy and develop more dimension to the user with techniques like job stories, persona sketching and scenarios.  These techniques help dig into motivations and goals a user may have, possibly even in direct relation to the product.

User Stories

Persona Development


I developed a variety of ideas and took into consideration Android’s material design guidelines.

Task Flows

Sketch Wireframe Iterations

Final Decisions & Validation Testing

After testing the prototype, 6/6 people were able to more clearly accomplish the same tasks from the initial test.



I learned that quick guerrilla testing can go far in advancing a product, however, further research and understanding of a companies decisions would also need come into play for a full picture.  While researching it was interesting to see that iOS and desktop versions of the app have been prioritized, as far as the scope I was studying. 

Using Format