Printed books aren't going anywhere.
My preliminary research indicated a resurgence in an analog counter-culture in small bookstores. Despite strong social trends towards post-industrial digital integration and social connectivity, low-tech bookstores seem to have grown in popularity over recent years. This gave me a clearer indication of possible directions to pursue as I continued research.
Once I gathered enough information on my own, I began the interviewing and synthesizing process. These interviews were incredibly helpful for aligning my personal ideas and goals with realistic, applicable opportunities.
I synthesized my interview notes into multiple personas to address different targeted user groups. I found a resounding disdain for the overly modernized, 'tech-y' bookstores that I was originally interested in designing. These personas were instrumental in shifting my attention away from a tech savvy experience towards a vibrant analog atmosphere.
Creating a provisional journey map was particularly helpful for understanding the ins and outs of the book buying experience. This also spurred later ideation for each segment of the interaction, from choosing a store to discovering books while inside.
Following interviews, I created a visualized graph below to reflect customers' community involvement at each point in the experience, along with other tables and data points seen in my full process book. This data was updated throughout the project timeline to reflect interview results.
I created a quick mood board as a personal imaginative exercise. Due to the structure of the class, this mood board was made before I had shifted into full-on ideation.
I made this just before I began to shift my goals away from tech-heavy interactions, while continuing to search for a couple clever, unique, and far-fetched elements to stretch the imaginative process a bit.
Mind maps work as a simple yet effective tool for laying out every individual aspect of a spatial interactive experience, in order to conceptualize solutions specific to each element. Basically a more focused process to build off of my mood boarding.
I focused my mood board inspiration into a more directed mind map to assort potential solutions by category. These ranged from practical applications to gimmicky experiences as I began to visualize the atmosphere I was searching for.
Further feedback on sketches and ideas reinforced the desire for a low tech experience. I was designing for people with busy lifestyles - people that wanted to keep up on reading without a strong time commitment. Implementing social media and digital technology would create the very distractions I needed to eliminate.
At this point, I wrote out a concrete definition of the goals for my design, so I would stop dancing around ideas and instead solidify my design principles. I wanted to create a low tech, in-store experience that wouldn't necessitate a huge time commitment.
My solution: a short story coffee shop that encourages frequent yet unobtrusive opportunities for reading in a busy lifestyle.
I created this storyboard to explain the relationship between coffee shop and bookstore, while providing a rough idea of the general atmosphere. Featured short stories are designed to be finished in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. This creates a relaxing but quick break from a busy lifestyle, and an easy entrance back into the literary world.
I created a high-fidelity interior render to solidify the exact atmosphere I was designing for this bookstore. I sketched up the outlined draft seen here and colorized it below in Photoshop with rendered sketches, silhouettes, textures, and other elements.
One aspect of this project involved initial planning of a conceptual animated advertisement. This storyboard serves to outline the basics of each section and give a rough, general sense of how the animated pieces would look.
I wanted to highlight people's tendency to get caught up in busy lifestyles as the fundamental problem. The fluid, non-stop animation would mirror the tiresome motion of everyday life. As Analog Books is introduced, the animation slows down to a comforting, relaxing pace.
Before setting out to design a prototyped website for Analog Books, I did some research on a few other independent bookstore websites to better understand the existing design space.
While many modern websites feature sleek, modular designs, these websites retain an intentionally homely, quaint aesthetic. This isn't always a bad thing - it can complement the simple, family-style atmosphere of the stores. The navigation and structural designs, however, are often fraught with poorly designed elements that I wanted to stay away from.
I created a static prototype for the home page of Analog Books' website. The cover photo, top level navigation, and below-the-fold elements are displayed here.
I designed the website to read much like a short story itself. Since there's no online shop (as that would go against the core in-store reading experience), the website is fairly simple in terms of content. A warm, full screen cover page greets the user, followed by short chapter-like introductions to each header section.