top of page
Maple 1.png

Streamlining the digital reading experience

Bringing digital comics and book to a mobile experience

Digipage offers a fresh approach to discovering digital comics for readers and content creators alike. The platform is centered around user-curated comics as the primary content and I spearheaded the end-to-end design process - from user research and product strategy to interaction design, visual design, and branding.

Project Details

Team

1 UX Designers (Myself)

1 Developer

Duration

1 Month

Role

UX Researcher, Project Manager, UI Illustrator, Graphic Designer

Methods

User Interviews, Task Analysis, Competitive & Comparative Analysis,   User Flows, Sketching & Wireframing, Rapid Prototyping, Usability Testing, Double Diamond. Agile Development, Information Architecture

Tools

Figma, Google Docs, Trello, Zoom, Slack, Photoshop, Illustrator, Miro, Mural, Google Slides, Overflow, Adobe Creative Cloud

Discovery and Research

What is the issue?

The Challenge

The Digital Comic industry commonly have issues with user accessibility and retention. 

It can be attributed to the following:

  1. Declining Sales: Publishers have struggled to find new readers, while retailers have faced challenges in staying profitable.

  2. Market Saturation: With so many comics and graphic novels being released every year, it can be difficult for readers to keep up.

  3. Creative Stagnation: Some critics argue that the comic industry has become too focused on nostalgia and rehashing old stories, rather than pushing the medium forward with new and innovative ideas.

  4. Monopoly of Major Publishers: The industry is dominated by a small number of major publishers, who have the power to dictate the direction of the industry.

  5. Lack of Diversity: The comic industry has long been criticized for its lack of diversity, both in terms of the types of stories being told and the creators who are given a platform.

Defining the Solutions

One of the Key Solutions: Shared online platform for both artists and readers is the key

maple2.png
maple3.png
maple4.png

Discovery and Research

Market Research

Creating a tailored experience and improving accessibility

Throughout my research, a common analysis looks into increasing popularity of digital reading programs as a result of greater smartphone and mobile device usage. An excerpt from BusinessWire brilliantly describes the potentials of this industry:

Increasing popularity of smartphones has led to a rise in number of webtoons viewers as they can easily view their favorite webtoons on their smartphones, which is further anticipated to drive market revenue growth. Webtoons are short and interesting Internet comics that are easier to develop and broadcast. They have already established themselves as a major part of the so-called 'snack culture', or the practice of ingesting small amounts of content in one's spare time.

Discovery and Research

Finding our Ideas

maple5.png

Competitive Analysis

After analyzing the five most popular apps related to online comics, I discovered that none of them offered a feature where users could receive tailored recommendations based on their viewing habits. This provided a powerful opportunity for our end goal to increasing reader usability.

Discovery and Research

Understanding the People

User Interviews

We interviewed users who regularly use digital reader programs in order to understand how people operate. In general,  users want to find content that is new, insightful, and interesting. But because many of the competitors limits exploration and the contents being either being subscription based or need to be purchased demotivates the users from continuing on with the platform.

The interviewees were 4x more likely to use the platform when there are multiple ways to interact and have individualized experience.

Some of the common pain points:

  1. Lack of accessibility to contents to try them out

  2. Trial and errors to find relevant content

  3. Unable to assess content prior to either subscribing or purchasing

  4. Single mode interactivity - limited ways of viewing and consuming the content

maple6.png

Define and Ideate

Main Insights

The user research and feature analysis indicated many of other competitors discovery and exploration feature was too broad rather than being specific.

Based on the trends in my competitive feature analysis, users prefer onboarding experiences that help them easily navigate their desired genre and provide multiple ways to interact with the content. Audible's approach serves as a good example. When users are presented with random comics, they are more likely to leave the site rather than to stay and explore, as they can find copied or illicit versions on other platforms.

Customization

Major insights can be condensed to the following:

More likely to be engaged to the site when the feeds are customized to their interest.

Users by default prefers to read comics that they are already well associated with.

This allows users to more likely venture in to the medium

Discovery

Users are motivated to discover when the experience is enjoyable and intriguing.

Sense of fulfillment and joy that comes from good discovery lead to engaged users.

When seeing the benefit of discovery such as both entertainment and literary discovery, users are more likely to stay using the platform.

Exploration and Accessibilty

When the process of exploration is done so that it is easily accessible, it promote the user to look into different mediums.

Users want information to be easily accessible and organized.

The interviewee said that the best experiences are one the platform also becomes part of the storytelling.

Define and Ideate

Ideas and Solutions

Based on the research, we've can condense our focus into two big categories. 

Exploration via Daily Recommendation

Over 88% of viewers only stick to 2-3 topics. The most popular ones were: most viewed, short clips, and new chapters.

Exploration via Author

Our primary user research showed that over 5/8 people choose comics based on artists work who interest and inspire them.

Design and Develop

User Flow

New direction for combining online comic experiences and storytelling

After assessing impact and feasibility, we decided to address the issue of online comics discovery and exploration by proposing a solution that involves user-curated comics distribution based on relevancy, recommendations, and sub-features such as quick view.

maple7.png

Design and Develop

From Ideas to Craft

Ideating some details

Utilizing common app patterns with our research, we created some initial prototypes.

proto1.png
proto2.png
proto3.png
proto4.png
proto6.png
proto5.png

Ideating some details

Based on various feedback from usability testing and mentor feedback, we continually iterated on my design over the span of four weeks, with three major improvements.

Edit 1.png
Edit 2.png
Edit 3.png

Design and Develop

Finalizing the Design

Final 1.png
Final 2.png
Final 3.png
Final 4.png
Final 5.png
Final 6.png

Final Thoughts

Closing Reflections

The Next Steps

  1. Focus more on tradeoffs. Collaborating with a UX research specialist taught me to consider the tradeoffs involved with each design direction. Through their guidance, I gained a greater awareness of my own biases and learned how to validate my assumptions, which has helped me become a more well-rounded and thoughtful designer.

  2. Testing early and often. Embracing a culture of early and frequent testing was crucial to our success in developing polished experiences efficiently. By soliciting feedback early in the process and iterating rapidly, we were able to reach our end-goals more quickly while maintaining a high level of quality.

  3. There is always a room for improvement. My design journey has taught me that there is always room for improvement. As I progressed from noticing small UI errors to uncovering more significant foundational UX issues, I came to understand that my initial ambition for the product had been overly optimistic. Collaborating with my peers helped me recognize my own limitations and areas for improvement.

Thanks for Reading!

bottom of page