As described in the previous article, we see great importance in setting up a library for the readers’ optimal experience. In our vision, the library will host multiple content-containers in diverse fields of interest. Giving attention to its looks and functionality is essential and requires much more than this pre-research. In this article, we would like to suggest a few elements for consideration, to be further defined in the next phase of the research.

The physical book feels like its worth more than a digital thing because the digital still feels temporary. Digital bookselling has more to do with the entire realm of digital products whether that’s films or games or music.”

Pia Pol, Deputy Publisher and Editor at Valiz Publishing, Interview February 2019.

What would the ideal digital reading environment look like, and what possibilities does the online platform offer? We can learn a lot from examining existing digital content platforms such as Apple Books, Netflix and Spotify. Researching their model constitutes an excellent base to see which elements we would like to implement in the new digital reading platform. We will review them shortly.

Library’s Looks.
The visual design of the library will be bound to two factors – the desired feel and the best functionality and orientation for the reader.
The leading existing digital content libraries share some distinctive similarities — for example, the use of block images, categorial division, hamburger menus and action buttons.

Should the library for the new digital experience follow and preserve known digital usability, or can it take more from the world of the book, such as the content’s length/thickness? Should it display inside content such as maps, videos and external links? These questions regard both the design and the technology and should be discussed when setting up the library.

Presentation and Functional examples of 3 leading digital content libraries

Library’s Functions.
The existing digital content platforms have set functions as standard: user login and account settings, search functions, side-scrolling in categories and more. Most of those functions are usually familiar to most users of digital content platforms.

Another function that can be interesting is creating a reading ‘playlist’ specific to the user and for later reading.

In the physical shops, while strolling past the bookshelves, you can encounter unexpected books without looking for it. Searching without knowing what you are going to find is an exciting opening way to experience new content and can be pursued in the digital library by using machine-learning programs and AI.

Library’s Navigation.
As the shopkeeper deciding which books will be more visible in the shop’s space, the order of presenting content on the home page of the app derives from algorithmic decisions. Defining the algorithms will have to happen methodically when setting up the library.

Architecting the navigation should occur after mapping the library’s content and functions.

Setting Up a Library.
Behind simplified use, there are tons of decision-making. The existing digital content stores can set examples for many options that exist, and one can always dream of more.

The library’s looks, functions and navigation will have to be discussed and decided considering wishes next to technological means.

next article: Creating a (New) Market