My Redesign of the Kobo 7” tablet OS is intended to better differentiate the brand's future offerings from its competitors by providing a uniquely enjoyable and engaging experience centered around the acts of reading and sharing.
This project was entirely self initiated, simply because I wanted a better reading tablet user experience.

- An Experience Centered Around your Reading Life -

Upon unlocking the device, you are greeted by the Reading Life screen. Being a reading device, there is a strong emphasis on typography to guide the user through the interface. Additionally, the background of this screen faintly shows the last page you had open.

In Reading Life, you can see the last three awards you've unlocked for completing featured Kobo books and other achievements. Below that, the latest book you are in the process of reading is presented front and centre. Alongside the cover, you are also given a short summary of what happened in the story so far, which is very helpful when you've taken a break between reading sessions.

(If this data isn't available in the ebook you're reading, a short description of the book itself would be used instead.)


- Unlock Awards for your Favourite Books -

As mentioned earlier, my design expands Kobo's existing achievements system by expanding awards to individual books. Did you just finish that latest spy thriller about a diamond and kitten smuggling ring? Then congratulations! You've just unlocked a black cat trophy award that you can use to recommend the book to your friends, to rate and write a review of the book in the store, or to just remind you of your awesomeness.

Features like book based awards and per chapter summaries would require additional effort to encode into the XML of ebook files, but unlike Amazon, Kobo doesn't also sell movies, sneakers and lawn chairs - Kobo's focus on books and editorially curated content allows it to provide a more enjoyable quality local bookstore customer experience, rather than that of a mass-market retailer of text files.


- See What Everyone Else is Reading on the Friends List -

Continuing the theme of leveraging existing Kobo infrastructures in new ways, the friends list page lets you see what new awards your friends have gained, books your friends have bought, and what they have recommended for you. This gives customers a more integrated and oftentimes easier to find new reading material that they'll enjoy.

Of course, privacy-minded customers can opt out of sharing specific books by marking them as private.

Like Flickr or Facebook groups, users can also create and join Book Clubs centered around their favorite authors, genres or anything else.


- An Enjoyable and Simple Reading View -

The theme of strong typography and a very reading focused experience continues into the reading view. Gone are the multiple buttons and the often finicky 'single tap to show controls' design of other ebook systems. Besides tapping left and right to change page, the only control on the page is the single understated button in the bottom centre.

Like today's Kobo, when you are on a page that other people have commented on, the button changes to a more 'filled' peach colored state. In my own testing, I found that this solution strikes a better compromise of informing the user, without taking them away from the high levels of attention and focus that reading demands.


- Quick and Simple Viewing Adjustments and Comments -

Tapping the single button on the reading view pops up the book adjustments panel, giving you quick access to viewing controls and social commenting features in a clear and straightforward way.


- The Notifications Curtain -

Replacing the standard Android notifications pane, pulling down from the top of the screen anywhere on the system allows to you make the most common adjustments, quickly jump back to reading, monitor active downloads, and view both your Android 4.0 ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ system notifications, and have quick access to custom app widgets.

The curtain motif makes using the pull down/up notifications panel more intuitive to less experienced users.