An Android App for
Book Lovers

Bhuku top image


A case study on an end-to-end mobile application, that allows users to discover, manage and share books with a practical and easy way.  


Bhuku, the Book Inventory App project developed for DesignLab


2019 (February)


80 hours


User Research, IA, Interaction Design, Prototyping, Usability Testing, UI Design, Branding


Goggle Forms, Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Marvel

The Challenge

Bhuku is an app for book lovers that helps users track everything they own, books they have read, what they will read next, and also everything they have loved so far.
Bhuku's key differentiation with other similar apps will be a user-friendly, fresh, and clean design that will use the full potential a mobile app has (e.g. register books via OCR / barcode scanner, track progress on reads, keep users engaged) and will make it delightful for people to use.
Bhuku Sign-up screens

The process

Bhuku Design process


Competitive Analysis
Primary Research
Sythesize User Personas

Competitive Analysis
Primary Research
Sythesize User Personas


Interaction Architecture
Task Flows
Feature List
Project Goals


Low-fidelity Prototypes
Brand Style Guide
Logo Design
User Interface Design


Usability Test
Usability Test Findings
Iterations & Next Steps




Run an online survey to find out more about readers habits, needs, and pain points, discover how popular book inventory apps are in a global level and determine which features are mostly used and which are those that users' would like to have.



Analyzed various mobile book inventory apps including Goodreads, the client's major competitor, and, after reading their reviews and several discussion threads, I outlined their strengths and weaknesses. 


Define the market landscape of existing book inventory apps and learn more about people's reading experiences.


Identify whether users prefer printed, digital or audiobooks and why, and learn how people currently manage their reading lists.


Identify key demographics of people that use book inventory apps,  understand why people use such apps, which they prefer and why.


Learn what book inventory app users mostly like to do while they use the app and identify their expectations.

Competitors Analysis
Online Survey
"There are a number of reasons that I like to read. I love that reading allows you to escape and to discover new worlds. I also love learning new things and reading to me is the best way to do that."

— Survey Participant

Gathering insights from 100 of readers around the world I gained a lot of useful information that helped me empathize with users. 

Generally, seamed that people read to escape and to learn new things while there is a good percentage of people who are loyal to a specific genre and present collectors habits (e.g. aim to buy new releases first, take care of their books, keep lists, search for rare editions etc). People who tend to read a lot they read at the same time more than one book and although readers want to read reviews in order to buy a book they don't like to spend their time writing reviews.


  • Wasting time & money on books they won't like.
  • Not to buy books they already have.
  • They don't like to write reviews.


  • Track their book.
  • Get inspired (e.g. recommendations, what other people read).
  • Read reviews, ratings, and interact with other readers that share the same likes.

  • Stay informed about new releases.
Building Personas

Information Architecture

My main idea was to design an app that allows access to all users so that non-registered users can access a part of the Bhuku's content and if they like it or want to reach more information to sign-up.

Having that in mind, I defined the Project Goals and built a Product Features Roadmap to determine the app's features needs.  In the end, having all these tools, I was able to outline the app’s Information Architecture (IA), including higher-level and sub-level navigation and visually represent it in order to be easily understandable and organized. 

Bhuku IA
Task Flows

Brand Identity

The brand should generally attract a general readers audience and especially a female audience since the research has shown that the majority of readers are women. At the same time, the client's brief asks for a fresh, clean and modern look and feel of the brand.

I decided to go with a logo that would be easily used as an app symbol and will give a sense of a book with a more abstracting approach. I used the "B" letter for Bhuku and I choose, instead of giving the "B" letter a book form to design the parts of the letter "B" so that they reminisce the movement of a book's pages.

Bhuku Brand ID

Low & Medium Fidelity Wireframes

Based on the task flows and the IA Diagram, at first, I proceeded with the low-fidelity wireframes (fast hand-drawn sketches) and when I had the main idea about screens' layout I continued with the medium-fidelity wireframes. 

During the whole process, I was always going back to check what competitors do, especially Goodreads, since my research showed that it is the app most readers prefer to use. 


User Interface Design

My final result should be fresh, modern, and clean. Since Bhuku will showcase multiple book covers with different colors and fonts, I had to keep the whole layout simple and minimal and avoid a multicolor and cluttered design. I decided to keep the most vibrant colors of my brand id in the CTAs and main navigation and keep everything else simple. 

After completing all the necessary screens, I created a high fidelity prototype to use it in the usability testing sessions. My participants would have to complete three tasks; complete the sign-up process, move a book to a different list and add a new book to a list. 

Usability Test Results

Using the high fidelity prototype, I conducted 5 in person user testing sessions. Participants were 2 men and 3 women between 23 to 36 years old, two of them were already users of Goodreads. Through this usability test, I aimed to evaluate how the users interact through the Bhuku app, if they like its look and feel and how easily they can complete their tasks. At the same time, I wanted to identify any pain point, potential improvements on the provided information, design and flow.

Usability testing results were very supportive! Participants loved Bhuku's UI and color palette and they all agreed that it looks very professional, modern, fresh and it is easy to use. They really liked the logo, color palette, and gradients and they found it much more exciting than other similar apps. 

Next Steps

Working on a project and creating an alternative app to the already popular Goodreads was really challenging. I had to do my best to create an app that covers the needs of Goodreads' users and at the same time to look more modern and fresh. Working on the UI was a unique experience since I had to work on a large number of visuals. These visuals when they were combined with the rest brand id's elements and the layout could end up cluttered and busy. I aimed to build a user-friendly app that will offer an excellent experience to its users without undermining its functionality.

My next steps for this case study would be to:

  • Create some alternatives for the "Next" and "Skip" UI in the Sign-up process in order to be more legible and easy to see. 

  • Work on the idea to motivate users to become frequent reviewers through a leveling system (gamification).

Other Projects

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© 2019 Helen Marouli. All rights reserved.