a photo of the words goodreads.com
a hero of the finished redesign of the goodreads website

time length

research: 8 weeks

design: 3 weeks


elvira gaite

my role


user interivews

lo-fi prototyping

user researching

journey mapping

information architecture






Guiding Question

How might we reduce the number of steps to find: a genre, books, or an author on Goodreads.com?

Final website re-design

The objective of this re-design was to improve the pain points of Goodreads’ audience. With all of these changes, we conclude that there will be an increase in page views, website retention, fewer bounce rates, and an overall increase in user experience amongst Goodreads’ community.

a gif of the goodreads wireframes


How we got here:

After a few days of brainstorming and making lists of pros/cons I thought of a website with a potential major interface issue: goodreads.com, a website I have used since 2012, and have encountered various issues with regards to interface design and site navigation.

I brainstormed about 5+ websites that I currently used
a photo of my notes where I brainstormed websites that have usability issues

Survey and Interview insights

After forming our guiding question, we prepared interview questions to ask during our interviews. Knowing most of Goodreads’ audience exists online, we developed a survey screener from the interview questions to send out on social media websites. We reached our audience by posting in social media groups where we knew our targetted audeince would reside.

a graph of the the survey resuts: showing percentage of users for each year: 6+years: %, 3-5 years: %, 1-2years: %
A screenshot of one of the survey questions

Survey Data: Demographics

  • 135 responses
  • Ages range from 16 to 65
  • Occupation: Part-time, (~19%), Full-time (~63%), Stay-at-Home (~10%), and Unemployed/ Retired (~10%)

Survey Insights:

Based on the responses we received, we learned many responders dislike Goodreads’ rating system. Not every person using Goodreads uses the book tracking feature, but use a variety of media platforms to keep track of their books. There also was an interest in an improved community within Goodreads. A way to connect with friends and family who also share book-related hobbies.

Interview Data: Demographics

  • 2 interviewees
  • Ages: 31 and 24
  • Experience levels: 0-2 years and 6+years.
  • Occupations: Full-Time Student and Full-time Job

Interview Insights:

We learned that despite their difference in years of experience with Goodreads, both interviewees found trouble when navigating the book search page due to lack of filters, inaccuracies with the search engine, and overall usability of the webpage.


Affinity Mapping

Our affinity map based on years of audience’s experience with Goodreads: 0-2 years, 3-5 years, and 6+ years. We color-coded each of the different aspects: the number of people with similar experience (light yellow); occupation (bold yellow); how they find new releases (pink), what they use to track their books (blue); would they recommend Goodreads (white); and suggestions that they want us to improve (green).

a screenshot of our affiniy map, sorted based on years of experience with goodreads.


Each of the personas we created is unique; this helps us reimagine who we are designing for; people. The personas help guide us to solve the issues the website presents and improve the user experience on Goodreads.

a screnshot of the KiKi persona
We introduce KiKi, and she is representing the audience with the experience of 6+ years with Goodreads.
a screnshot of the GiGI persona
Then, we have GiGi describing 0-2 years of experience with Goodreads.
a screnshot of the Jose persona
Ultimately, we have Jose representing 3-5 years of experience with Goodreads.

Journey Mapping

Once we completed our unique personas, we planned sorted different goals and scenarios to fit KiKi, GiGi, and Jose. We choose an ideal situation for each persona’s goal, pain, and pleasure points.


Goal: Easy search and choose a good book based on the rigid ratings.

Scenario: Kiki wants to find a book for her sister’s birthday.

Kiki's journey map


Goal: Seamless community connection.

Scenario: Gigi is a Youtuber and wants to attract her audience to use Goodreads and build an interactive community.

GiGi's journey map


Goal: Find all the books he needs for his thesis and keep track of them on Goodreads.

Scenario: Jose is an English Literature major and has to prepare his senior thesis. He uses Goodreads’ book tracker to keep his sources organized.

Jose's journey map

Lo-Fi Wireframes

a flatlay of the finialized design

Book Tracking Features

The objective of making the lo-fi wireframe was to improve our personas' pain points while utilizing Goodreads. For instance, based on Jose's case we wanted to improve the usability of book trackers on Goodreads. On the original Goodread website, the 'Add to Shelf" button is hidden. So, we adjusted the book review page and made the 'Add to My Shelf' button visible to the audience. Then, when the audience clicks on the 'Add to My Shelf' button, this will navigate to the 'My Shelf' page.

Adding to My Shelf

We improved the layout of the Goodreads’ ‘My Shelf” to make it more appealing to the eyes as well as to increase usability. On the other hand, based on KiKi’s case, we wanted to improve the rating system by enabling half stars. According to the audience with 6+ years of experience with Goodreads, they find it hard to express their evaluation with a rigid rating system. Improvement of this feature would help increase the usability of Goodreads.

Leaving book reviews

Ultimately, we improved the Goodreads’ review and network system. Addressing GiGi’s pain points, we wanted to improve the design of the book overview and review page along with the options to share with other networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Seamless sharing would increase the number of audience accessibility to Goodreads and make it marketable.

Seaching for books

To answer our guiding question, we sought out to revamp the ‘Book Search’ page. One of KiKi’s and Jose’s pain points during his journey map was Goodreads’ lack of usability when searching for a genre or title of a book. To limit frustrations, the addition of filters will help refine the results that otherwise would warrant thousands of books.

Home and Sign up page

Lastly, as a final thought, we decided to give Goodreads’ welcome and sign up page a redesign. The current page is dated, and in comparison to their competition, the welcome page is lacking modernity. With all of these changes, we conclude that there will be an increase in page views, website retention, fewer bounce rates, and an overall increase in user experience among Goodreads’ audience.

Lo-Fi Prototype

Due to the disruption of in-person instruction due to COVID-19, we were unable to conduct user testing and therefore left our prototype as low fidelity.

click here to read more about my experience throughout this project.