UX | Research | Product Design

Kindle Community

Adding a social aspect to the kindle reading app


Design brief

Amazon wants to increase customer engagement by introducing a social aspect to the Kindle reading experience. Many people enjoy having access to books through the Amazon Kindle app. The app provides a pleasant reading experience, but lacks the social aspect that many readers desire. People love to discuss what they’re reading! 



  • 3-week


  • Sketch
  • Invision


  • 2 person UX team


  • Design Documentation
  • Mock-ups
  • InVision Prototype

Competitive Analysis

I started my research with a competitive analysis of what is currently available. Users already have the ability to highlight, comment, and share content in the kindle app. However there is not the ability to organize groups around topics or books. Likewise, reads are able to see "most highlighted" sections in books, but not notes on those highlighted section. A look at other products helped to determine what kindle was missing. 

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Reddit is synonymous with forum boards, up-votes, replies and general topic discussion. I found that their organization of material within the site's forum makes it easy for users to see an initial topic and the subsequent comments afterward. There are currently many "subreddits" about books and literary topics, though it is nearly imposable to link a comment to the reference text, contributing to a lose of context.  

Good Reads

Owned by Amazon, Good Reads is a "social cataloging" site that allows you to record books you've read, review books, discover other books you might like, and even create books and discussion groups, though that feature is rarely used. Most people use the site to find their next read, but the interaction ends there. The discussion feature is not developed and there still isn't a way to reference the text.



Google Docs

Google Docs revolutionized collaborative projects with their networking features. You can share your project with anyone, multiple people can edit the work in real time, and margins support comments and chats. Though these features where designed to help with documents creation, I can easily see the tools used for annotation and referencing. 

User Research

Our research was focused on people already using the Kindle app, and people who discussed what they read, whether in a organized reading clubs, or organic conversation. After using a Google forms screener to weed out those who did not fit our criteria, we conducted interview to find out specific frustrations, advantages, and solutions of how people talked about what they are reading.  



Personas were based on people we interviewed, real-world situations and problems. Our personas help us figure out what features are necessities and which ones can be left for later development.


Social sarah

12-15 Books a year

Sarah is in her mid-thirties and joined a monthly book club with a friend. She wants to read more and have a new social outlet. While Sarah enjoys the book club and socializing, there are things about the book club that have frustrated her.

A handful of the members show up to the meetings without reading the book.

The group communicates via Facebook; since she is not on Facebook often, she sometimes misses updates and changes.

Sometimes the monthly meetings are more about who did what over the last month than the content of the book. 


professional paul

50-60 books/plays a year

Paul is on the board of a theatre company in Philadelphia and is an adjunct professor at the University of the Arts in the theatre program.

As part of his board responsibilities, he has to vet plays for consideration in the company schedule for the upcoming year. 

Paul’s current method of transcribing his notes into a form he can share with his board members and students has become tiresome. Because a play will be passed between 5-6 members, he wishes he could share his comments on the pieces more easily.

Also, because the timing is totally unstructured, he is constantly having to check in with members to see what they’ve read.

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intellectual ian

130-140 books a year

Ian reads a lot. He reads everything from SciFi to historical memoirs. He would rather read than watch TV… yeah, he’s that guy.

He usually gets recommendations from his friends and quickly devours the text so he can discuss the book. If he ends up liking the writing, he seeks out all of the author’s other works.

He ends up using Reddit to talk to people about a current read when non of his friends or coworkers haven't read it. He's not a fan of the anonymity Reddit provides and want a more personal experience. 

Scope & Features List

1. An opt-in app feature

2. In-Text ability to comment on text linked to a forum accessible to those in your reading community 

3. The ability to creat community around a Book

4. The ability to creat community around a Group


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Sarah's Flow

Sarah has a few tasks she need to do on the Kindle app. She found out a new coworker uses Kindle Community and they have similar reading interests, so she wants to add her as a friend. She also knows that she is about to have a busy week at work and wants to check her progress compared to the rest on the group on the current read for "Book It Winos". She also want to see if anyone has started a forum thread concerning what happened at the end of chapter 6.

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Paul's FLow

Paul has been reading "Once On This Island" and thinks its worth sharing with his other board members. He starts by navigating to the book on his profile page and adding it to his Kindle Community by inviting others to for a book group. He adds a comment a few chapters in, and waits to see if it sparked a conversation among his colleagues. 

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Ian's Flow

Ian just wrapped up one book and needs more material to read. None of his friends or coworkers have any good recommendations so he buys a book thats been on his list for a while and opts into a random readers group. He's paired with 7 other people who started the book at roughly the same time as him and read at a close enough rate.  

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Sketches & Wireframes

We initiated the ideation process with sketches and wireframes to flesh out the architecture of the feature. This allowed us to create rough prototypes the we could test to check usability.

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Sketch Wireframes

Creating low-fi wireframes and building a clickable prototype was essential to getting generating an intuitive design. We were able to test, ideate, and change the design a few times before finding the right balance.


Round 1

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Round 2

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