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The $10,000 Mistakes
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2021
Featuring: The $10,000 Mistakes

The Problem

Reading in your pastime has always been a less popular hobby among college students, but as they transition into a new phase of their life post-graduation reading becomes more and more popular. However, it’s possible that this generation of college graduates and those younger than them who have experienced their lives in a y different way due to technological advancements the question can be asked if this same trend will continue. And if not, what can be done to connect this target audience with reading?

In the first five years after graduating, how will the significance of digital technology affect current Miami student’s relationship with reading for pleasure?

Success Statement

Determine the target audience’s current relationship with technology and how it can be leveraged to create a habit of reading.

Target Audience

Current Miami students who will be entering the workforce within the next five years.

Research

1. Semi-structured interviews, formatted as an open-ended conversation.

Purpose: Gather insights that will guide future research/survey questions.

Questions investigate:

  • Relationship between technology and current habits on how age group spend free time
  • How do they pick up new hobbies or pastimes/what factors influence having a new interest
  • What is their relationship with reading for pleasure
    • History
    • Current feelings on people who read, if they want to read, value in reading, etc
    • Predict future relationship with reading
    • Would factors from above influence future reading habits

2. Online Survey

Purpose: Gather quantitative data. Survey gathers main interview takeaways which drive survey questions.

Measurable data looks like:

  • Gauging opportunity for change with habit building
  • How that change can happen/has happened with other past times
  • Age group’s current measurable relationship with reading (time, number of books)
  • Age group’s past/present/future mental relationship with reading

Main Takeaways from Research:

  • People being influenced by recommendations to pick up habits means that community is important even in solo activities like reading.
  • Nostalgia or familiarity can be used to reintroduce old habits.
  • Timing or a shift in schedule could allow someone more time to prioritize a hobby, and there is a big opportunity for this due to this age group graduating and entering the workforce.
  • The majority of this age group using technology in their free time, which means that social media would be accessible and easy to navigate if included in the solution.

Design Process + Testing

Goodreads has infrastructure that already supports a lot of my data:

  • Community space exists in the bookclubs curated by librarians or other readers
  • Social Feed that’s linked to other social networks
  • Reading challenges to reinforce productivity
  • Recommendations to get started or find something new

But what Goodreads doesn’t do that would specifically engage my target audience is have an easy way for new readers to form habits rather than already needing be a reader to use the platform. Another thing that would be helpful is to include an active community space that is openly engaging rather than static.

Design Solution

Renew. New Adults Rediscovering Reading.

A forum space within Goodreads for new adults that answeres the problems listed above. It’s a new community that would exist similar a book clubs but Renew is specifically designed with my target audience in mind.

On the far right-hand side is a live chat where a small community always exists of people talking about books or quotes.

The main page functions similarly to Reddit where users can post discussions, recommendations, quotes or any other thoughts they had.

It’s within Goodreads, so users still have access to all of the benefits of the website but within Renew there is an active community that is more in line with other forms of social media my target audience finds engaging.

The idea is for people who are not active readers to enter the space and can participate without having to have already have read something. These people would eventually be influenced by the other users within the space to start reading something. This way the community supports all readers, whether they are new to it or not.

Making the Community Known

Advertising on Tiktok allows for Renew to be discovered by college students in a place they already are being influenced by other brands and people.

The account will show off the parts of the community space that could draw people in like the live feeds, as well as going live with people discussing books and offering recommendations while prompting people to go to the website.

Content on the account would mainly be centered around nostalgia for this age group in mind, tying back to an earlier insight. Nostalgia can be extremely powerful here because rereading something you already know you like could be the foundation for creating a new reading habit in the future.

Closing

To answer my initial research question, technology will certainly impact current Miami students choosing to read in their free time in the future, and Renew is the digital space that will use technology to help them rediscover reading.