Blook app

Overcoming reader inertia through play

In a nutshell

I designed this mobile app concept to help readers discover books in a fun, nostalgic way. This was my solo final project for my graphic design masters at Kingston School of Art.

Blook app welcome screen
Book collection tabs
Book browsing

Achieved outcomes

  • I created a high-fidelity prototype that demonstrated what a potential experience for book discovery and play could look like.
  • This project won me a work placement with Fintech company Onfido – where I began my product design career.


  • Throughout my course and prior to this, I had focussed more on traditional graphic design forms – from poster printing to letterpress and bookbinding.
  • I decided to pivot to digital design for my final project as this would give me the opportunity to experiment with a new medium and broaden my design skills.


  • During the initial literary research for this project, I identified an interesting design problem to tackle – avid readers who want to read but find it hard to find the time or space to do so.
  • I learned that this “reader inertia” is likely a result of how quickly technology has evolved in recent decades – which has caused a shift in reading behaviour towards scanning and skimming.
Research questions 🔍
  • How might we design digital platforms that encourage busy readers to read more?
  • How might the online user experience tie-in with the offline experience of reading?
  • I also scoped my target audience towards millenials (adults aged 23 – 38) who enjoy reading for leisure, whether avidly or casually – they're likely to have grown up with the internet but also experienced a childhood without it.

Project goals

  • Identify what readers enjoy and want from their reading experience.
  • Find ways to incorporate offline reading experience into online realm.
  • Design a visually engaging platform that is easy to navigate and encourages users to read more often.


💡 Discovery by play

I wanted to tap into and engage with our innate sense of curiosity through the games I designed for this app.

Discovery through play
One of the games
Another game

💡 Microinteractions to delight

For the bookmarking feature, to inject an air of nostalgia for reading physical books, I used a dog ear fold to indicate that a book had been saved to a user’s reading list.

Mimicking a dog ear fold in the UI Bookmarking with a dog ear fold

When designing buttons for the search page, I accidentally overlaid a circle in multiply mode – the result reminded me of bright search lights, so I decided to keep this happy accident as visual feedback after a user selects a genre.

Spotlight for the search page A "spotlight" for the search function for a little drama

Other ideas I wanted to explore

  • I originally planned to include detailed statistics of what users had read. However, due to time constraints, I was unable to develop this secondary feature any further.
  • Another aspect to develop with the app might be to help readers enjoy a distraction-free environment while reading. A ‘Reading Mode’ could potentially be added to the app that would turn off all non-essential notifications when engaged.


Being new to the field, I sought guidance from experts and adopted IDEO's three phases of human-centred design – inspiration, ideation and implementation.

Spotlight for the search page Source: IDEO's 'The Field Guide to Human-centred Design'

I started by collecting as much information as I could from primary and secondary sources.

  • To get a deeper understanding of my target audience, I conducted nine in-depth interviews with both casual and avid readers.
  • I also conducted field studies by visiting bookshops, libraries, museums and book fairs in the UK, Romania, Belgium and the Netherlands to really immerse myself in environments where readers gather.
  • As a beginner to UX and UI design, I also attended workshops by the School of UX and Red Academy which had exercises that helped me understand the theories.

Design inception diagram from Red Academy's worksheet template My Design Inception Diagram for Blook based on Red Academy’s worksheet template

I then adopted various idea generation and prioritisation techniques.

  • Using exercises like Crazy 8s, I tried to brainstorm ideas without limiting myself too much.
Crazy eights exercise Generating ideas using Crazy 8s
Notes from discussion with UX expert Notes from discussion with a UX expert
  • After that, I prioritised these ideas with a How Now Wow matrix – so I knew which ones to continue developing and testing.

How-Now-Wow matrix How-Now-Wow matrix of the ideas I'd generated

  • Pulling these ideas together, I worked on wireframes that helped me to plan how I built my prototypes, which I kept iterating as I continued to gather feedback and advice along the way.

Design inception diagram from Red Academy's worksheet template Consolidating all my selected ideas into wireframes

  • I also consulted industry experts to gauge the feasibility of my design product in a commercial environment.

Finally, after iterating my designs from the feedback I was getting, I presented my final high-fidelity prototype for the final critique session for my course.

InVision prototype of the Blook app My final Blook app prototype built with InVision


  • This was my early foray into product design – I was excited and wanted to dive into everything! Instead, given I was often short on time, I learned to be more intentional and only focus on the appropriate research for the specific problem I needed to solve.
  • The creative work I produced on this course has helped me to gain confidence in my design skills as I have learned to work more efficiently and without fear of failure.
  • Instead of discouraging me, my failed experiments have only helped to improve my judgement as a professional designer and encouraged me to experiment even more.