User Experience Designer

Improving Childhood Literacy


Improving Childhood Literacy


1. Design Concept & Approach

One of the best gifts my Dad gave me was his love of reading. Growing up, visits to the library were frequent and consistent, until this habit was well-formed.

For the past few years, I’ve reclaimed my “bookworm” title by consistently reading (and listening) 100+ books a year. Using the OverDrive app was a big help to achieving these milestones. 

*After this project, OverDrive launched Libby, a similar app with better engagement and user experience


2. Field Research at public libraries

Research included hours of ethnographic site observations, field notes, and interviews with multiple stakeholders.

Data analysis consisted of interview transcriptions, contextual inquiry diagramming, with affinity models and mapping.   


3. The Problem

The librarian's goal of this branch is to improve childhood literacy. He shared this jaw-dropping statistic.  


How might we increase awareness of literacy and get more books into the hands of children?



Source: Cohen, Steve. “A $5 Children's Book vs. a $47,000 Jail Cell -- Choose One.” Forbes Education. 25 Dec 2010.


4. The Pitch

I focused solutions around increasing accessibility of books to build awareness. The increased access and visibility builds a stronger environment for increased literacy.



SUMMARY: Add a marketing and awareness user flow in an already popular OverDrive app.

OverDrive is an app that helps libraries distribute content (ebooks/audiobooks) to patrons. The library branch can collect funds or receive book deliveries to gift to children. Each branch will need to physically distribute books to children as the books are delivered.


  1. Heavy OverDrive users who are finished reading ebooks/audiobooks

  2. Educate "Bookworms" on literacy and the impact it has on the community


  • Preventative measures for community safety with "$5 books"

  • Private donations add to public funding, improving the library's mission

  • Better allocation of tax dollars when supporting youth (books instead of jail cells)

  • Integration with heavily used and existing OverDrive app - adding an additional user flow


5. Paper Prototype


6. High Fidelity Prototype