Wrindie—self-publishing by and for "the little guys"
Wrindie is a mobile app providing insights and interactive tools for folks looking to self-publish their books. I designed it for a two-week "mashup" project where I was asked to combine two existing—and unrelated—brands in order to design a new app.
Unlike Reedsy (which provides self-publishing services at a fee, promoting established and traditional professionals), Wrindie elevates the indie creative, be they a writer, an editor, a cover artist, or a marketer—forging self-publishing connections and comprehension for free.
Oct 2021 (2.5 weeks)
Figma, Google Slides, Premiere
Competitive analysis, interaction design, brand design, prototyping
My—admittedly quick—process fell into the following steps: 1) identifying and researching the parent apps, 2) designing my mashup app, and 3) creating its onboarding/first-time user experience.
The problem—a mashup
The two apps I chose to combine were Webtoon and NerdWallet, a comic publisher and a fintech company. Webtoon encourages its users to both read and create comics; this support-your-own, DIY vibe is what makes the app so appealing. NerdWallet provides financial tools and recommendations from the POV of a "nerdy" friend.
Webtoon & NerdWallet's context of use
So...what happens when financial know-how and DIY storytelling merge?
the process of publishing one's own work independently
Research and competitive analysis
Given my short timeline, I turned to websites like Reddit and Product Hunt to gather would-be users' pain points, needs, and goals—particularly with regards to where Reedsy, my app's biggest competitor, falls short.
I found that Reedsy's features democratize self-publishing only to an extent, doing so in a (more often than not) exclusionary manner that effectively smothers its own sense of community. Its "vetting process" for editors, reviewers, and artists is particularly brutal, rewarding traditional publishing experience even as its platform claims to support freelance professionals in a self-publishing context.
How might we support authors in the self-publishing process while honoring and offering the skill sets of indie/freelance publishing professionals?
I used this research to create two provisional personas:
Wordwallet allows writers to:
1) Get quotes for certain services within the self-publishing process—e.g., printing, cover design, editing—through interactive calculators and roundups.
2) Browse articles on certain processes (e.g., designing cover art) or professions (e.g., hiring a sensitivity reader).
3) Crowdfund and share updates about writing projects, finding support in a community of likeminded writers.
The positive, straightforward, and casual qualities of NerdWallet's voice carried over into WordWallet. (After all, like NerdWallet, my app would untangle tricky concepts and explain them.) When it came to color, I leaned into Webtoon's visual design, adding shades of brown to achieve a papery, book-like feel.
WordWallet's style guide
Home page wireframe
Example calculator wireframe
"Support" page wireframe
Articles (unfiltered) wireframe
I created my first batch wireframes, then iterated into the final prototype with a few changes to the flow, including:
- changed the name of my app from "WordWallet" (too derivative of my parent apps) to "Wrindie"
- two new screens, one showing the landing page for calculators and the other showing an example project that the user "subscribes" to
- bigger text and adjusted, WCAG-compliant colors
- a re-designed tab bar for a less distracting look
Final UI screens
I also made a few content design changes:
1) Renamed the labels on the tab bar after some eye-opening user-testing (e.g., my tester thought Learn referred to learning how to use the app, not learning about self-publishing). Learn became Read, as I felt this best gave the impression of article-like content.
2) Changed the header for the Support feature to Writer's Desk. This gives a name to said community and implies that the projects shared there are works in progress (a desk, not a bookshelf).
3) Axed the message [COVER ART NOT YET AVAILABLE] as it felt clunky and robotlike; now, it reads No cover art yet.
4) Made Book Printing Calculator sentence case to match the other page headers (with the exception of Writer's Desk, which is a proper noun).
You can interact with the final prototype here.
All aboard! (The first-time user experience)
Next, I needed to design a first-time user (onboarding) experience for Wrindie. This not only included a sign-up process, but also a way of introducing features to new users and giving them a reason to stick around.
In class, I interviewed a target user, determining her motivations, inclinations (with regards to being prompted to act), and ability to navigate Wrindie comfortably (via a usability test). The results—paired with my previous secondary research—allowed me to construct a slide deck of considerations:
Interview script and considerations for an onboarding experience (via the Hook Model)
At this point, I was running low on time (as I had other assignments to complete), so I whipped up a few wireframes and then jumped into the final UI:
User questions screen
User interests screen
Sign up screen
Push notifications opt-in