Week 5 | Service Review | Reading & Literacy

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    • #1240
      Michalina Lisik

      This week I investigated a reader’s advisory service. This service in particular is a free resource, referring non-fiction and fiction books and will not be named. For the purpose of this reflection, I will refer to it as Unnamed (original I know!)


      Previous to selecting Unnamed as the desired service to review, I scanned through a few to identify which I would enjoy most. I looked through a few and Unnamed stood out at first glance. Why?! Very simple, and drawing on last weeks topic, it was most certainly the design and layout of the website. The main page was warm and inviting, very different to the other few which looked like very basic HTML. Although it may seem like I’m disputing the ever-so-common phrase, ‘never judge a book by its cover,’ I find it important to offer users an inviting interface, allowing for pleasant interaction (the pun was definitely intended by the way!)


      An interesting element on offer in this site caught my attention. The text that first caught my eye was ‘Deciding what to read next?’ and ‘What are your friends reading?.’ Once again this was very different to the other services I looked though. It puts forth a very social atmosphere, offering the opportunity to see what others with the same interests are reading and also being able to participate by suggesting books to them. Further scanning throughout the website allowed me to identify that most of the headline text were questions ie ‘New Here?’ ‘Are you an author or a publisher?’ ‘What will you discover?’ This further exhibits an attempt at interaction and drew me into the page.


      Upon signing up, I was asked another question, ‘what’s your reading goal?’ and further more, the website asked me to enter the number of books I wish to read this year. This added more of a personal feel to the website. More questions flowed through, including my favorite genres and what I rated certain books in the past.


      This leads me to the database and search area of the website. This was incredibly impressive. I could identify that the questions surrounding my favorite genres and rated books, were being used by the service’s algorithm to provide me with books I would most likely be interested in reading. This is excellent. In comparison to other advisory services, Unnamed focused on the quality of the results in what I was searching for, rather than the quantity available.


      Once I headed back to the main page after sign up, I was able to look through what books were trending this week. I was able to rate and add books to my ‘want to read’ section. The side banners continued to ask me questions including what book I’m currently reading and added ‘featured poll’ where I could answer questions regarding the website. Once again, this encouraged more interaction between the site and myself.


      What I enjoyed most about this service was Unnammed’s continued search for answers. This provided three excellent results

      1. A personal feel to the service
      2. Continual refinement of my specific interests – offering quality books
      3. Seeking continued feedback from users to enhance Unnamed’s service


      I am usually very critical, particularly when it comes to reviews of programs and services. This makes it almost difficult for me to admit that this service is excellent, with no faults. The interface, search, database and personal feel make this reading advisory both enjoyable and effective.

    • #1313
      Shannon Franzway

      Go on, if it’s a good experience tell others!!

      This sounds like they’ve carefully considered the user experience, clearly identifying the different types of users (i.e. readers, authors, publishers) and directing them in the fewest clicks they can. It also sounds like the language used is quite casual, almost conversational, which I think would definitely add to the personalised feel.

    • #1371
      Katherine Lee

      I’m intrigued! I want to try it. It sounds like a fantastic service.

    • #1510
      Stacey Larner

      I agree. I think, positive review, name it so we can all benefit ;). It sounds great and I want to check it out!

    • #1882
      Steven Walker

      This almost sounds like the netflix of books 😉

    • #1958
      Nicole Steer

      Sounds nice! I agree, if you feel like naming it you should. It sounds like a great service!

      I need to get something like this to track all the books I’m totally going to read sometime but haven’t got around to yet. (It’s a big list! One day I will read all the books that have ever existed and my life will be complete.)

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