UX & D
Buying textbooks as a university student, especially brand new ones, can be difficult and expensive. We want to design, build and hand over a web platform for City University Students that allows them to sell their old textbooks to new course or year students. Studying can become very costly, therefore this platform can seriously improve student finance situation by cutting costs on University textbooks or even giving access to books students might have never considered buying.
UI & UX Designer working with an UX Designer based in London and a full stack developer based in Spain.
As with any Ecommerce experience, the user’s journey needs to be as seamless and painless as possible. By stepping into the user’s shoes, I could identify pain points. This meant spending time interviewing and observing university student behaviour. Subsequently, the main points of emphasis were:
- The registration process should be simple, straight forward and quick.
- Only university students should be allowed in the platform.
- Available books should be visible to everyone (registered users or not).
- We should make sure only real legitimate books are uploaded to the platform.
- Money transactions are not allowed in the platform so students are encouraged to meet in campus for the exchange.
Initially built and designed for City University Students; over 10K students across 6 campus. When successful and if it gets a lot of traction, we would consider packaging the solution up, create an online and offline strategy and documentation, and approach more universities within London, UK & Europe.
We started by talking with City University students (Short Typeform questionnaire) to find out what they are doing regarding buying/using/selling their textbooks, what the levels of engagement are (if any) with the subject matter and most importantly validate our solution. Scope if there is room to market and if people would use our platform. Simultaneously online search to see if there is anything out there already tackling the problem we are trying to solve (this also helps to identify search keywords for later SEO implementation). Existing websites that are offering similar services are books.com & Book-Spot.
Initial warm up session together with the UX Designer, always taking a user centered approach we would start gathering user stories. We started by identifying two journeys; users that are looking for a textbook and users that want to sell their textbooks.
Starting with pencil and paper, I produced a variety of hand drawn wireframes in order to test navigation and flow. Digital wireframes and high resolution mockups were produced by implementing user feedback:
- Registration shouldn’t be mandatory for users browsing books.
- Forcing user to register without showing them value increases site abandonment.
- User reviews are important.
- Profile picture and user profile completion are important.
- Adding a wish list or allow reservations might be challenging.
- Adding additional email address will improve responsiveness when sending notifications.
Have a look at the prototype here.
REFLEXIONS & TAKEAWAYS
- Talk to your users as soon as you can – research is key in getting the best results.
- When working for organisations, make sure you liaise with at least 2 people.
- Don’t be shy!