Portigal Consulting: Reading Ahead Research Findings redux


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Presentation of research findings from our project on the evolution of reading and books. After we've lived with the results and been out sharing them with different audiences, the material starts to evolve, as well as incorporate changes that are happening around us.

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Portigal Consulting: Reading Ahead Research Findings redux

  1. 1. Considering the Book’s Future in the iPod Era
  2. 2. Typical Development Lifecycle Iterate and improve What to make or do? Refine ideas and prototype Launch
  3. 3. Where We Work Take a fresh look at people What to make or do? Launch Refine ideas and prototype Iterate and improve
  4. 4. Where We Work What to make or do? Launch Refine ideas and prototype Iterate and improve Use existing ideas as hypotheses
  5. 5. Where We Work What to make or do? Launch Refine ideas and prototype Iterate and improve Is it working like we hoped?
  6. 6. Where We Work What to make or do? Launch Refine ideas and prototype Iterate and improve History provides context to explore new opportunities
  7. 7. About Reading Ahead
  8. 8. This Project: Reading Ahead <ul><li>An opportunity to explore something of our choosing: What opportunities can we find around how people are reading books and digital books? </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate how we work with clients </li></ul><ul><li>Make our process transparent </li></ul><ul><li>Share best practices </li></ul>
  9. 9. Tracy Erica Peter Research Participants We recruited 6 active readers (3 books, 3 Kindle) in the San Francisco Bay Area Chris Jeff Julie
  10. 10. Lead User Sampling <ul><li>Our sample is not representative of the general population </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fewer than half of Americans regularly read literature (NEA, 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How many read as avidly as our sample? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>400,000 Kindles sold (TechCrunch estimate) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This isn’t a statistically valid quantitative study; it’s a contextual exploration to uncover the issues, which lead users are especially articulate about </li></ul><ul><li>Market sizing question: what is the shape of the general population? </li></ul>0 many 0 many Disinterested Enthusiast Disinterested Enthusiast
  11. 11. Fieldwork methods We asked people to do photo-diaries
  12. 12. Fieldwork methods We conducted contextual interviews and participatory design activities
  13. 13. We synthesized data into findings, recommendations, and opportunities
  14. 14. We blogged about our process and what we were learning http://www.portigal.com/series/reading-ahead/
  15. 15. Findings
  16. 16. Artifacts and behavior <ul><li>Although we can conceive of reading and books as separate (verb and noun), they are tightly coupled </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul>Books Reading
  17. 17. <ul><li>Reading is much broader than eyes-looking-at-words </li></ul><ul><li>The complete reading experience includes pre- and post-reading behaviors </li></ul>What is reading? Post-reading Pre-reading Reading
  18. 18. People read in a variety of modes Work Fun Interstitial Bedtime Focused Private Family
  19. 19. Each mode has multiple components Interaction with others Content Setting Motivation
  20. 20. <ul><li>In addition to solitary time spent with a book, reading is connected to different social activities </li></ul>The social side of reading
  21. 21. Book sharing <ul><li>People trade books, talk about what they’re reading, make recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>The medium for acquiring a particular book (print or digital) might be determined by expectations around sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Printed books are easily shared while Kindle books are not </li></ul>
  22. 22. Family reading <ul><li>Provides entertainment, education, bonding opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>When Tracy reads aloud, she performs different voices for each character </li></ul><ul><li>As kids age, family reading rituals evolve to include new ways of sharing the experience </li></ul>
  23. 23. Communicating (and exploring) identity <ul><li>People use a variety of artifacts, including books, to actively construct and display their identity </li></ul><ul><li>People use what they read to explore and evolve who they are </li></ul>
  24. 24. The book reading experience Post-reading Pre-reading Reading Memories Sensory Kinesthetic Sharing
  25. 25. Books are sensory <ul><li>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” </li></ul>Distinct sensory qualities—texture, weight, etc.—vary between books, making each interaction a unique experience
  26. 26. Reading (books) is kinesthetic <ul><li>Erica: “Even just the act of physically turning the page and interacting with it…helps me decompress” </li></ul>The particular movements afforded by books can be an important aspect of the reading experience
  27. 27. Books are significant objects <ul><li>Marks of age and use (i.e., annotations) record personal experience </li></ul><ul><li>An inscribed book given as a gift </li></ul><ul><li>A book from a previous time in one’s life </li></ul><ul><li>There are elements of craftsmanship (binding, typography, graphics, print and paper quality) </li></ul>This book about Thanksgiving has been in Tracy’s family for several generations
  28. 28. Books are casual and simple <ul><li>They are durable and relatively inexpensive </li></ul><ul><li>Each book is a separate object </li></ul><ul><li>They can be left around the house, tried out with minimal investment, and given away or traded </li></ul>
  29. 29. Books enable unplugging <ul><li>For some people books are a refuge: a way to unplug and get away from the ubiquity of computers, screens, and digital information </li></ul><ul><li>In contrast to the scanning and multi-tasking typical of computer use, books afford a slower, more focused experience </li></ul>Erica: “I have a very hard time reading… without doing something else. I could be sitting on the couch and feel this need to check my email”
  30. 30. <ul><li>Digital readers let people carry far more reading material than physically possible with printed books </li></ul><ul><li>Readers can effortlessly acquire new content anytime and almost anywhere </li></ul><ul><li>Currently not providing as rich a total experience as books </li></ul>The digital reading experience
  31. 31. Different platforms offer different reading experiences <ul><li>For readers who use reading to unplug/disconnect, digital reading devices may signify computer , not book , and be in opposition to the desired reading experience </li></ul><ul><li>Kindle challenges existing navigation behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Kindle provides a different sensory experience </li></ul><ul><li>Kindle does not support social aspects of reading </li></ul>
  32. 32. The Gold Standard <ul><li>As new technologies emerge, people are willing to give up certain things in exchange for convenience, price, or to meet a social standard </li></ul><ul><li>The previous technology may still be seen as “the best” – the Gold Standard – but people’s everyday behaviors reflect the new option </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LPs are better than CDs (or MP3s) for gazing at the cover art </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CDs have more accurate reproduction than MP3s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yet, industry experts predict sales of digital music files will equal CD sales by the end of 2010 </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. The Gold Standard <ul><li>Will it be the same for books? </li></ul><ul><li>Bookstores are best for an exploratory, immersive browsing experience, yet online shopping has hurt both chain and independent brick-and-mortar book retail </li></ul><ul><li>Will the convenience of carrying 100 books on our digital reader ameliorate the loss of the sensory pleasures of paper? </li></ul><ul><li>As people grow up with digital books, will people adapt more naturally to the differences from printed books, and make choices accordingly? </li></ul>
  34. 34. Guiding the transition <ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>Apple emphasized tangible benefits (capacity) and emotional benefits (the inner listening experience) </li></ul>
  35. 35. Amazon has yet to create a compelling story <ul><li>The tag line of Amazon’s TV ad for the Kindle – “Books in 60 seconds”– focuses on content acquisition, which is only one aspect of the total reading experience </li></ul><ul><li>Does focusing on content acquisition represent the perspective of readers, or of Amazon? </li></ul>
  36. 36. Books and digital can coexist <ul><li>Both the book reading and the digital reader experience have a place in our lives </li></ul>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”
  37. 37. Opportunities
  38. 38. Has the book been fully explored? 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
  39. 39. Create a rich digital reading experience <ul><li>Include the sensual </li></ul><ul><li>Support the social side of reading </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the varied modes and rituals of reading </li></ul><ul><li>Develop an ecosystem </li></ul>
  40. 40. 1. Include the sensual Provide sensory and kinesthetic elements that deliver the total experience readers seek
  41. 41. Put the book back into the device <ul><li>Design the digital reading device with more of the tactile and interactive aspects of books </li></ul>While only a conceptual piece and not an a realistic solution, this Kindle case offers the touch and gesture of a hardcover book
  42. 42. Give the device its own distinct gesture <ul><li>A new gesture (and language that lets people teach each other about it) helps create acceptance </li></ul>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
  43. 43. 2. Support the social side of reading Support and expand the social aspects of the reading experience
  44. 44. <ul><li>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 </li></ul>Incorporate social networking
  45. 45. Encourage interactions across multiple platforms <ul><li>A more open product or service can be more fully integrated into people’s lives </li></ul>
  46. 46. Bring people together <ul><li>Peer-to-peer sharing brings social interaction to device usage and encourages product sales </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Apple’s rumored peer-to-peer app sharing leverages the offline behavior of people comparing iPhones </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Communities build acceptance for new products and behaviors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sony launched Words Move Me , a site that invites people to share their favorite “literary moments” and then browse the Reader store </li></ul></ul>
  47. 47. Prioritize functionality for sharing <ul><li>Zune places functionality for sharing at the top level of its menu structure </li></ul>
  48. 48. Nook eReader enables sharing <ul><li>Barnes and Noble’s Nook lets users lend a book for up to 14 days </li></ul>
  49. 49. <ul><li>Support the varied modes and rituals of reading </li></ul>3. Support the varied modes/rituals of reading Work Fun Interstitial Bedtime Focused Private Family
  50. 50. Support the varied modes/rituals of reading <ul><li>Optimize for reading aloud? </li></ul><ul><li>Be friendliest for transit? </li></ul><ul><li>Support bedtime ergonomics? </li></ul>
  51. 51. 4. Develop an ecosystem Harness the “power of many” to support new behaviors and grow the category
  52. 52. The iPod ecosystem <ul><li>iPod and iPhone are at the center of a vast system of products, companies, and experiences </li></ul>
  53. 53. The eBay ecosystem <ul><li>eBay has created/spawned a network of products and services that have made it a powerful player and grown the auction category </li></ul><ul><li>There are many different ways to engage with the eBay ecosystem and they serve as a hub for that extended community </li></ul>
  54. 54. For Future Work <ul><li>Study other “users” in the system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authors, publishers, retailers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educators </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Explore other issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ownership of digital content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consider more platforms and formats </li></ul><ul><ul><li>iPad/iPhone, netbook, Google Books, digital library books </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Storyboard/prototype current ideas and conduct further contextual research </li></ul>
  55. 55. Design
  56. 56. Core77 Design Challenge
  57. 57. Let’s keep talking <ul><li>steve@portigal.com </li></ul>dan@portigal.com