Capstone Team 3 Blog

Diving Into a New Personalized Experience for Readers

Maile Allen, Emily Flores, Shaina Jaramillo and Eliza Pillsbury

Several people in the class were interested in creating a product about and around books, so our group decided to focus on the social and promotional aspects of the bookselling industry and the readers’ experience. We defined our design challenge as how we might meet readers where they are to bring them a wider array of personalized book recommendations. We used this language to emphasize accessibility; we want to serve voracious readers and those who might not have picked up a book in years.

In our experiences, content creators on popular platforms often recommend the same handful of books, often by white female authors like Colleen Hoover, Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Sarah J. Maas. We’re planning to achieve this by building an interactive recommendation system that takes into account the user’s genres and interests. We’re currently looking into making this recommendation system similar to a dating app or a mind map. It should guide our users towards personalized recommendations, so they shouldn’t feel the need to scope them out on social media. 

As mentioned above, some of the solutions we had brainstormed for this was possibly creating a “book dating app”. This idea was particularly our favorite, because we felt that this application could create a personalized experience for readers and better be able to meet readers where they are, and recommend books to their liking. This is because the application could include filters and functions, so that users can select a book based on their interests or preferences. Additionally, our other solution that we had brainstormed for this was creating an interactive, mind map type of website. This could be a website where a user can look up their favorite book on a map, and then the map would then take you to similar books based on that one. We really liked both of these solutions because they were both intuitive for the user and offer a personalized experience for readers. 

From the feedback we received, our ideas surrounding the social and promotional side of books were validated and allowed us to look into other ideas and suggestions our peers gave. One of the few features we would like to incorporate is the idea to provide book recommendations based on one’s music and movie preferences as well as provide a small snippet of passages that will allow readers to see whether they would be interested in a book or not. These features can help out and encourage newcomers to actively read. Furthermore, we also plan to partner our product with local libraries and literary events to achieve one of our goals of accessibility while also forming a community. We will also try to explore AI and its advantages to see if we can integrate it into the creation of our product.


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