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Core77 1HDC: Reading Ahead Research Highlights
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Core77 1HDC: Reading Ahead Research Highlights


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  • 1. Reading Ahead Research Highlights for Core77 1 Hour (plus) Design Challenge – The Future of Digital Reading
  • 2. Outline
    • About Us
    • Executive Summary
    • Design Brief
      • Include the Sensual
      • Support the Social Side of Reading
      • Consider the Varied Modes & Rituals of Reading
      • Develop an Ecosystem
    • Supporting Evidence
    • Appendix: Research Participants
    • Contact Us
  • 3. About Portigal Consulting
    • We help companies discover and act on new
    • insights about their customers and themselves
  • 4. Our team Steve Portigal Dan Soltzberg
  • 5.
    • Books are more than just pages with words and pictures; they are imbued with personal history, future aspirations, and signifiers of identity
    • The unabridged reading experience includes crucial events that take place before and after the elemental moments of eyes-looking-at-words
    • Digital reading privileges access to content while neglecting other essential aspects of this complete reading experience
    • There are opportunities to enhance digital reading by replicating, referencing, and replacing social (and other) aspects of traditional book reading
    Executive Summary 3 1 2 4
  • 6. Design Brief: Create a rich digital reading experience
    • Include the sensual
    • Support the social side of reading
    • Consider the varied modes and rituals of reading
    • Develop an ecosystem
  • 7. 1. Include the sensual Provide sensory and kinesthetic elements that deliver the total experience readers seek
  • 8. 2. Support the social side of reading Support and expand the social aspects of the reading experience
  • 9.
    • Support the varied modes and rituals of reading
    3. Support the varied modes/rituals of reading Work Fun Interstitial Bedtime Focused Private Family
  • 10. 4. Develop an ecosystem Harness the “power of many” to support new behaviors and grow the category
  • 11. Example: the iPod ecosystem
    • iPod and iPhone are at the center of a vast system of products, companies, and experiences
  • 12. Supporting Evidence: from the Reading Ahead research project
  • 13. Reading Ahead Project Overview
  • 14. Reading Ahead Project Overview
    • Our objective: Explore the evolution of reading and books and develop product, service, and business opportunities
    • We recruited 6 active readers (3 books, 3 Kindle) in the San Francisco Bay Area
      • People did photo-diaries : self-documentation of reading and environments
      • We conducted in-depth contextual interviews and participatory design activities
    • We synthesized data into findings, recommendations, and opportunities
  • 15. Research Participants (see Appendix for detailed descriptions of each person) Tracy Erica Chris Peter Jeff Julie
  • 16.
    • Reading is much broader than eyes-looking-at-words
    • The complete reading experience includes pre- and post-reading behaviors
    What is reading? Post-reading Pre-reading Reading
  • 17. Why read?
    • People have many motivations for reading
      • Sometimes it is a medium of escape
      • Sometimes it’s a way to better understand yourself
      • It can be entertaining
      • It can be educational
      • It can be a way to pass the time
        • Erica: “I’ll read anything.”
    • Tracy: “Reading is my ‘crack.’ It’s my way of unplugging.”
  • 18. Reading is not just one activity
    • People read in a variety of modes
    Work Fun Interstitial Bedtime Focused Private Family
  • 19. Each reading mode has multiple components
    • These components get combined in different ways to support each mode
    Interaction with others Content Setting Motivation
  • 20. Work
    • About gaining knowledge, skill-building, and problem-solving
    • Primarily non-fiction
  • 21. Fun
    • Can be about learning, but is often about fantasy, relaxation, unplugging
    • Fiction or non-fiction
  • 22. Interstitial
    • Takes place on public transit, in waiting rooms, and during a homemaker’s day
    • Books requiring less focus are better for short bursts and frequent stopping and starting
    • Some books, such as romance novels, are written specifically for this type of use
  • 23. Family
    • An entertainment and educational activity
    • A bonding ritual for parents and kids
    • There are variations
      • Reading aloud, together
      • Same room, private books
  • 24. Bedtime
    • A way of disconnecting from the world of computers, jobs, family, etc.
    • A quiet environment is important
    • A good time to read books requiring more concentration
  • 25. Focused
    • Reading is primary focus
    • No interaction with others, eliminate distractions
  • 26. Private
    • About getting personal time, relaxing, self-improvement
    • At home, in public but not interacting
  • 27.
    • In addition to solitary time spent with a book, reading is connected to different social activities
    The social side of reading
  • 28. Book sharing
    • People talk about what they’re reading, make recommendations, etc., as well as actually sharing books
    • The medium for acquiring a particular book (print or digital) might be determined by whether or not it is going to be shared
    • Printed books are easily shared while Kindle books are not
    Peter returned to printed books because he couldn’t share Kindle books with his coworkers
  • 29. Family reading
    • Reading together is a bonding activity, and provides entertainment and education
    • Tracy and her sons read together every day. When she reads aloud to them, she performs different voices for each character
    • As the kids get older, family reading rituals evolve to include new ways of sharing the experience
    Tracy reading with her son
  • 30.
    • People use a variety of artifacts, including books, to actively construct and display their identity
    Displaying identity
    • Julie in her home library
    • From Leah Missbach’s Teenagers
  • 31. Outer and inner selves
    • A person’s choice of reading and relationship to books are ways of communicating identity to others
    • People also use what they read to explore and evolve who they are
    Erica’s way of organizing her bookshelf says a lot about how she sees herself (and wants others to see her)
  • 32. The book reading experience Post-reading Pre-reading Reading Memories Sensory Kinesthetic Sharing
  • 33. There are many ways to use a book Focused reading Non- reading Book interactions Focused on content, experience of reading, or both
    • Purposefully seeking specific information
    • “ Auditioning” a book
    • Comparing information on non-sequential pages
    • Using a book for reference
    • Books can be
    • Decorative objects
    • Objects of inspiration
    • Markers of identity
    • Signaling intention
    • They can serve these functions without being read
  • 34. Books are sensory
    • Distinct sensory qualities—texture, weight, etc.—vary between books, making each interaction a unique experience
    • Jeff: “I used to love the smell of books— it’s a really weird thing to say, but…there’s probably some aspect from my childhood”
  • 35. Reading (books) is kinesthetic
    • Reading is typically a relatively quiet activity, but with an important kinesthetic element
    • Several people described the significance of turning pages
      • A relaxing gesture
      • An innate part of taking in information and moving forward
      • Erica: “Even just the act of physically turning the page and interacting with it…helps me decompress”
  • 36. Books are easily shared
    • They can be passed along to others
      • Borrowing and lending (friends or library)
      • Give away to friends
      • Donated
      • Sold
  • 37. Books are significant objects
    • The physicality of books gives them unique attributes
      • Erica: “In a way, I almost love books more than reading”
    • There are elements of craftsmanship
      • Binding
      • Typography
      • Pictures and illustrations
      • Quality of paper, printing, etc.
    • They can be objects of art
      • Signed copies
      • Galley proofs
      • Antiquarian books
    • Erica displays books on her wall
  • 38. Books carry memories
    • Marks of age and use (i.e., annotations) record personal experience
      • A favorite “dog-eared” paperback
      • An inscribed book given as a gift
      • A book from a previous time in one’s life
    • This book on Thanksgiving has been in Tracy’s family for several generations
  • 39. Books are casual and simple
    • They are durable and relatively inexpensive
    • Each book is a separate object
    • They can be left around the house, tried out with minimal investment, and given away or traded
    • Books intermingle with food in Erica’s kitchen cabinets
    • Tracy’s current bathroom books
  • 40. Books enable unplugging
    • For some people books are a refuge: a way to unplug and get away from the ubiquity of computers, screens, and digital information
    • In contrast to the scanning and multi-tasking typical of computer use, books afford a slower, more focused experience
    • Erica: “I have a very hard time reading…sustaining it without doing something else. It’s a problem I recognize and have been trying to break. I could be sitting on the couch and feel this need to check my email”
    • Erica’s bedside table
  • 41.
    • Digital readers let people carry far more reading material than physically possible with printed books
    • Readers can effortlessly acquire new content anytime and almost anywhere
    • Currently not providing readers with as rich a total experience as books
    The digital reading experience
  • 42. Digital devices don’t afford unplugging
    • For readers like Tracy and Erica, who use reading to unplug/disconnect, digital reading devices like the Kindle may signify computer , not book
    • Computers, with their speed and hyper-connectedness, are in opposition to the desired reading experience
    • Erica: “Computer lifestyle has seeped into my world so deep that my attention span is the attention span of a gnat”
    • Tracy unplugs with some bedtime reading
  • 43. Kindle vs. printed books
    • For those who have been using PDAs or an iPhone for reading, the Kindle is an improvement
    • Julie sees reading a printed book and reading on the Kindle as “the same experience”
    • Jeff: “If I have a book that I really like, it has exactly the exact same experience—I just get lost in the content—but I’ve always been like that”
    • Julie relaxes on the couch with her Kindle
  • 44. Different platforms offer different reading experiences
    • Kindle challenges existing navigation behaviors
    • Kindle provides a different sensory experience
    • Easy content acquisition is key
    • Social aspects of reading are not well-supported
  • 45. Books and digital can coexist
    • Both the book reading and the digital reader experience have a place in our lives
    Jeff: I don’t think this thing (Kindle) replaces my paper books, and I’ll certainly still, if I’m at a bookstore and I see a really beautiful book… I’ll buy it”
  • 46. Appendix: Research Participants
  • 47. Tracy
    • Tracy is a stay-at-home mom and part-time massage therapist, and is going back to school in the fall to get an MA in Occupational Therapy
    • Reading is a big part of her family’s life. She reads every night with her two sons (including a two-hour Harry Potter session the night before), and told us she does different voices for each character in the stories
    • In addition to a regular set of reading rituals with the kids, Tracy reads on her own, which she describes as “My way of getting completely unplugged”
  • 48. Erica
    • Erica is 28 and lives by herself in an apartment in San Francisco
    • She described growing up without a lot of money but in a house where there were “walls of bookshelves”
    • She had been planning to open a cookbook store, until the recent economic slump. She’s working now as an office manager at a software startup and regrouping
    • Erica talked about buying certain books just because she likes them as objects: “I love books. I almost like books more than reading.”
  • 49. Peter
    • Peter works in web production and lives in Vallejo. When describing himself, he says, "I like gadgets”
    • Peter’s had his Kindle for a couple of years. He says when he first got it (as a gift from his partner), it “got him” buying books right away, and he used it almost exclusively for around a year. Now he’s back to reading print books again
    • The biggest frustration for Peter is that he can’t share Kindle books
  • 50. Chris
    • Chris is a software engineer in his early thirties. He lives in an apartment in Mountain View with his wife and their small dog. They moved here a couple of months ago, after returning from an extended stay in Europe
    • When they left the US for Europe, the couple got rid of many of their possessions, including their books
    • Now that they’ve settled in again, Chris says he’s still trying to keep from accumulating too much stuff, and has been buying fewer books and using the library more
  • 51. Jeff
    • Jeff is a former architect who works in interaction design for a large Silicon Valley company
    • Jeff is extremely busy, and he likes the ease and efficiency of the book-buying experience the Kindle supports
    • Jeff uses his Kindle for not only for personal reading but for work as well, and sometimes publishes documents he needs to review to the Kindle. He and his team have also experimented with using the Kindle as a platform for delivering presentations
    • He calls the Kindle “One of my favorite devices”
  • 52. Julie
    • Julie and her housemate have an amazing library in their San Leandro home, with three walls of alphabetized floor-to-ceiling bookshelves
    • With the bookshelves and quiet ambiance of the space, being in this part of their home feels just like being a library
    • While some of the people we met described the Kindle as less-than-satisfying compared to a printed book, Julie has a long history of reading on electronic devices, and finds the Kindle a big step forward
    • For Julie, reading a book and reading on the Kindle are both equally positive experiences
  • 53. Contact Us
  • 54. We want your feedback!
  • 55. More Portigal Consulting?
    • We can work with your team to explore the specific implications this work has for your business
    We can work with your organization to help you discover and act on new insights across other categories or customer segments