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Portigal Consulting: Reading Ahead Research Findings



Presentation of research findings from our project on the evolution of reading and books.

Presentation of research findings from our project on the evolution of reading and books.



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    Portigal Consulting: Reading Ahead Research Findings Portigal Consulting: Reading Ahead Research Findings Presentation Transcript

    • Reading Ahead Research Findings
    • Outline
      • Our Team
      • About Reading Ahead
      • Introduction
      • Executive Summary
      • Project Overview
      • Who We Met
      • The Reading Experience
      • The Social Side of Reading
      • Books
      • The Kindle
      • Going Digital
      • Looking Forward
      • Wrapping Up
    • Our team Steve Portigal Dan Soltzberg
    • This Project: Reading Ahead
      • An opportunity to explore something of our choosing
      • Demonstrate how we work with our clients
      • Make our process transparent
      • Share best practices
      • Lots of blog posting along the way
    • Executive Summary
      • 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
    • Portigal Consulting
      • We help companies discover and act on new
      • insights about their customers and themselves
    • Typical Development Lifecycle Iterate and improve What to make or do? Refine ideas and prototype Launch
    • Where We Work Take a fresh look at people What to make or do? Launch Refine ideas and prototype Iterate and improve
    • Where We Work What to make or do? Launch Refine ideas and prototype Iterate and improve Use existing ideas as hypotheses
    • Where We Work What to make or do? Launch Refine ideas and prototype Iterate and improve History provides context to explore new opportunities
    • Project Overview
      • Objective: Explore the evolution of reading and books and develop product, service, and business opportunities
      • Recruited 6 active readers (3 books, 3 Kindle) in the San Francisco Bay Area
      • Photo-diaries: self-documentation of reading and environments
      • In-depth contextual interviews (with participatory design component)
      • Synthesis into findings, recommendations, and opportunities (this document!)
      • Ongoing: dialog with different audiences
    • Lead User Sampling
      • Our sample is not representative of the general population
        • Fewer than half of Americans regularly read literature (NEA, 2004)
        • How many read as avidly as our sample?
        • 400,000 Kindles sold (TechCrunch estimate)
      • This isn’t a statistically valid quantitative study; it’s a contextual exploration to uncover the issues, which lead users are especially articulate about
      • Market sizing question: what is the shape of the general population?
      0 many 0 many Disinterested Enthusiast Disinterested Enthusiast
    • Who We Met
    • Research Participants Tracy Erica Chris Peter Jeff Julie
    • 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”
    • 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.”
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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”
    • 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
    • The Reading Experience
    • Artifacts and behavior
      • Although we can conceive of reading and books as separate (verb and noun), they are tightly coupled
      • There is almost no way to talk about them separately: asking a participant a question about reading quickly leads to a discussion of books, and vice versa
      Books Reading
      • 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
    • People grow up with reading and books
      • They are an important part of many people’s memories and formative experiences
      • Reading is often a life-long, multigenerational activity
      • Tracy keeps books from her childhood on her shelves and shares them with her children
    • 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.”
    • Reading is not just one activity
      • People read in a variety of modes
      Work Fun Interstitial Bedtime Focused Private Family
    • Each reading mode has multiple components
      • These components get combined in different ways to support each mode
      Interaction with others Content Setting Motivation
    • Work
      • About gaining knowledge, skill-building, and problem-solving
      • Primarily non-fiction
    • Fun
      • Can be about learning, but is often about fantasy, relaxation, unplugging
      • Fiction or non-fiction
    • 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
    • Family
      • An entertainment and educational activity
      • A bonding ritual for parents and kids
      • There are variations
        • Reading aloud, together
        • Same room, private books
    • 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
    • Focused
      • Reading is primary focus
      • No interaction with others, eliminate distractions
    • Private
      • About getting personal time, relaxing, self-improvement
      • At home, in public but not interacting
    • The Social Side of Reading
    • Reading is not just a solitary activity
      • In addition to solitary time spent with a book, reading is connected to different social activities
    • 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
    • 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
    • Public places
      • Libraries and bookstores are public places with social functions
      • Erica has strong memories from visiting libraries as a child with her mother
      • For Tracy, weekly library visits have led to new relationships with library staff
      • Julie: “I love bookstores. That’s always our, ‘Oh, we have to kill an hour before the movie’”
      • Family browsing in a bookstore
      • 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
    • 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)
    • Books are a medium for expressing values
      • Books carry messages about group membership and values
      • Jeff: “There’s a lot of who you are sort of floating in the choices that you make”
      Tracy’s older son is reading about weaponry. She’s not happy about this topic, but values his freedom to choose his own interests.
    • Books
    • The book reading experience Post-reading Pre-reading Reading Memories Sensory Kinesthetic Sharing
    • 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”
    • 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”
    • Books are easily shared
      • They can be passed along to others
        • Borrowing and lending (friends or library)
        • Give away to friends
        • Donated
        • Sold
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • Books are objects of ritual
      • Books become props in personal and public rituals
      • Weekly library visits and living room reading sessions are family rituals for Tracy and her sons
        • On Bloomsday in Dublin, fans of James Joyce relive the events of his novel, Ulysses
    • Books express aspirations
      • We buy books we’d like to read but will probably never get to. These books represent vicarious experiences, expressing what we’d like to do and who we’d like to be
    • 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
    • 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
    • The Kindle
    • How Kindle affects reading
      • New behaviors
      • Kindle introduces the idea of carrying around a “library”
        • Never run out of content
        • “Real books” vs. “Kindles”
        • “Publish” to the Kindle
      • Old behaviors
      • Kindle supports solitary reading (with different sensory and kinesthetic aspects from print reading)
      • Old behaviors not enabled?
      • Kindle does not easily support sharing
      • Not the medium of choice for those who are not “digital natives”
    • 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
    • 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
    • Kindle challenges existing navigation behaviors
      • It is difficult to go between non- sequential pages on the Kindle, or to go directly to a desired spot (unless one has thought ahead and bookmarked it)
      • Books easily enable flipping back and forth, comparing non-sequential pages, using several books at once, etc.
      • Chris: “It’s a lot easier for me to, actually, to read (a book), and I think that’s maybe because I do jump around a little bit ”
      • Chris prefers the flexible navigation with books
    • Kindle provides a different sensory experience
      • The Kindle works very well on a functional level, but some of the more nuanced aspects of the reading experience are not carried over
      • Pressing a button (on the Kindle) is different from turning the pages of a printed book
      • Peter: “Even though the text on this Kindle is great…it’s easy on the eyes, there’s a difference…when you’re reading paper—the whiteness of the paper, the black text—there’s something about that you just can’t capture”
    • Easy content acquisition is key
      • One of the standout features of the Kindle is the ability to instantly get more content
      • Jeff: “It’s super-addic…super easy to order stuff, and so by reducing the barrier to purchase, I buy all kinds of stuff… …I was listening to NPR, and Michael Pollan was on and they mentioned his book…I was at a stoplight, I bought the book before the light turned green…”
    • Social aspects of reading are not well-supported
      • People purchase differently if they are planning on sharing
      • Julie: “If it’s an author we both like, then I’ll buy the regular book. So we both have access to the book”
      • Peter: “I came to this job where there were a bunch of people passing books around and I realized I had nothing to contribute… …and I realized, oh, this is so much fun, to read a book and then pass it back and talk about it with other people. I think that’s part of the experience”
    • Going Digital
    • The Gold Standard
      • As new technologies emerge, people are willing to give up certain things in exchange for convenience, price, or to meet a social standard
      • The previous technology may still be seen as “the best” – the Gold Standard – but people’s everyday behaviors reflect the new option
        • LPs are better than CDs (or MP3s) for gazing at the cover art
        • CDs have more accurate reproduction than MP3s
        • Yet, industry experts predict sales of digital music files will equal CD sales by the end of 2010
      • Will it be the same for books?
        • Bookstores are best for an exploratory, immersive browsing experience, yet online shopping has hurt both chain and independent brick-and-mortar book retail
        • Will the convenience of carrying 100 books on our digital reader ameliorate the loss of the sensory pleasures of paper?
        • As people grow up with digital books, will people adapt more naturally to the differences from printed books, and make choices accordingly?
    • Guiding the transition
      • Companies can help consumers make a transition to digital by seeking ways to mitigate what might be lost, offering increased benefits, and helping to make new behaviors attractive and pleasurable
      • Apple emphasized tangible benefits (capacity) and emotional benefits (the inner listening experience)
    • The digital reading experience
      • 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
    • Different platforms provide different experiences Post-reading Pre-reading Reading
        • Awareness
        • Anticipation
        • Personal history
        • Pick book up and hold
        • Waiting to acquire
        • Tactile variety
        • Turning pages
        • Flipping around
        • Annotating
        • Bookmarking
        • Recommend
        • Share
        • Lend
        • Trade
        • Discuss
        • Awareness
        • Instant acquisition
        • Recommend
        • Discuss
        • Tactile uniformity
        • Button press
        • Electronic notes & bookmarks
    • 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”
    • Looking Forward
    • Has the book been fully explored?
      • Chris: “There’s a lot more that can be done with this format. I don’t think it has to go to computers for these authors to be more creative. They could take what’s good about books already…”
      Book designers have used dozens of techniques to support navigation or other aspects of the experience, yet most books do not make use of those techniques Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern experiments with new approaches to typography, layout, binding in each issue
    • How can we create a rich digital reading experience? Post-reading Pre-reading Reading
    • How can we create a rich digital reading experience?
      • Include the sensual
      • Support the social side of reading
      • Consider the varied modes and rituals of reading
      • Develop the ecosystem
    • 1. Include the sensual Provide sensory and kinesthetic elements that deliver the total experience readers seek
    • Put the book back into the device
      • Design the digital reading device with more of the tactile and interactive aspects of books
      While only a conceptual piece and not an a realistic solution, this Kindle case offers the touch and gesture of a hardcover book
    • Give the device its own distinct gesture
      • A new gesture (and language that lets people teach each other about it) helps create acceptance
      Texting is immediately recognizable without seeing the person’s face or the screen Gellin’ became a catchphrase to describe a new behavior layered on top of the old behavior of wearing shoes
    • 2. Support the social side of reading Support and expand the social aspects of the reading experience
      • Netflix has many different elements that tell you see what others have watched in the past, plan to watch in the future, or how they rate have rated films
      Incorporate social networking
    • Bring people together
      • Peer-to-peer sharing brings social interaction to device usage and encourages product sales
      • Communities build acceptance for new products and behaviors
            • Zune Social is “an online music community powered by what you and your friends are listening to”
            • Apple’s rumored peer-to-peer app sharing leverages the offline behavior of people comparing iPhones
    • Bring people together
      • Shelfari is a social networking site that seeks to replicated the offline social connectedness of reading
    • Bring people together
      • Sony has just launched Words Move Me , a site that invites people to share their favorite “literary moments” and then browse the Reader store
    • Prioritize functionality for sharing
      • Zune places functionality for sharing at the top level of its menu structure
    • Encourage interactions across multiple platforms
      • A more open product or service can be more fully integrated into people’s lives
      • Support the varied modes and rituals of reading
      3. Support the varied modes/rituals of reading Work Fun Interstitial Bedtime Focused Private Family
    • Reading aloud
      • Optimize voices, pacing, emphasis, revealing pictures, etc. for reading aloud to children
    • Be friendliest for transit
      • Compensate for vehicle motion
      • Allow for frequent interruption of eye-gaze (i.e., highlight last read word)
    • Support bedtime ergonomics
      • Adjust to ambient lighting
      • Offer a timer
      • Support a range of body/hand/face positions
    • 4. Develop an ecosystem Harness the “power of many” to support new behaviors and grow the category
    • The iPod ecosystem
      • iPod and iPhone are at the center of a vast system of products, companies, and experiences
    • The eBay ecosystem
      • eBay has created/spawned a network of products and services that have made it a powerful player and grown the auction category
      • There are many different ways to engage with the eBay ecosystem and they serve as a hub for that extended community
            • PayPal solves a specific eBay problem (how to safely send and receive money to pay for online auctions) and becomes a separate solution to many other problems around moving money
      eBay doesn’t certify third parties that sell on your behalf, but they make that information available on their site. Consignment stores further expand the ecosystem
    • And it just gets bigger and bigger…
      • Growth of the ecosystem normalizes new behaviors and creates even broader opportunities for products, services, and communities
    • Wrapping Up
    • For Future Work
      • Study other “users” in the system
        • Authors, publishers, retailers
        • Educators
      • Explore other issues
        • Ownership of digital content
      • Consider more platforms and formats
        • iPhone, netbook, Google Books, digital library books
      • Storyboard/prototype current ideas and conduct further contextual research
    • We want your feedback!
    • 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