Skoobe Android App
Concept and visual design of an e-book app for Android
Skoobe is a novel ebook subscription service for mobile devices. Subscribers can read an unlimited number of books for a small monthly fee. We worked with skoobe on the concept, the visual design and the documentation of their app for Android. An effort that paid off: the app quickly reached a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on the Google Play Store!
»At Skoobe, we believe that a successful product needs the attention and energy to get every detail right. The team at envis precisely shares this philosophy and created a wonderful user interface that our clients just love.«
Henning Peters, CTO Skoobe
We used a healthy mix of user centered design and expert knowledge in this project. To make sure that big changes would be accepted by users, we made it a priority to get direct feedback in every project phase. User roles were another major concern. Depending on whether someone was a subscriber or not, we had to put a different set of functionalities on a screen, that had to look perfect in any case.
The application has two basice areas: the library and the reader. One important point is that there is no dedicated »shop« section. Discovering and checking out new books is elegantly integrated into the library.
One of the most important and most challenging screens was the one for book details. It allows for lots of different interactions and also displays the most important facts about a book. Users can get a preview, check out the book or get more books by the same author or in the same genre. In an interative process, we continuously improved this section to make it work just right.
The most frequently used part of the app is of course the reader. We built upon the reduced look of the Android interface and got rid of most classical book metaphores (except for page turning). Because of the fragmentation of the Android platform, we had to take all kinds of screen sizes into account. That's why the app also supports a two column layout for wide aspect ratios.
Personalisation was another topic that was dear to our hearts. In »My Skoobe« users can create lists of books and view their recently opened readings. Every book can be downloaded on the device for offline reading. And if someone wants to change his subscription, it's easily done in the options.
Information Architecture and Documentation
To get a grasp of how a user would navigate through the application, we created a UI-Map to show all the screens and links within the application. This map served as a central reference point throughout the development of the app. It was first filled with wireframes and then gradually replaced with pixel perfect screen designs. In that process, we documented design variables like colors, typography, spacing and layouts in an online styleguide. That way, the developers at Skoobe had a central source of information that always stays up to date.
The entire concept, design and development phase lasted no longer than three months. Designers and developers worked hand in hand throughout the project. While the basic concept was created in a classical design process, we hooked into the agile development process of skoobe for the visual design and integrated our solutions in the sprints. After a short (and very successfult) beta testing phase, the app went live. In its first week on the store, it topped the list of new apps and got a 4.6 out of 50 rating.