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UX Design Personal  Project

Redesigning Goodreads:

Kindle Notes & Highlights

Banner - Book View.png


Adobe XD, Figma


2 Weeks

My Role  

This is an individual project. I led the research, design analysis and prototyping processes.


Enhance a knowledge organization feature on Goodreads's website to drive better insights from Kindle.




Organize ideas the way you like.

Drive insights across books and authors.

Suppose you are looking for some quotes on personal growth from Bob Iger's memoir on Goodreads today,

Book Page - 1.png


Landing Page

Book Page

Not so hard, right?

Let's find another quote from Michelle Obama's memoir.

Book Page - 2 Becoming.png

Landing Page

Book Page

Speech - 1.png

Oh wait, I have to go back to the landing page to find the book. And I have to scroll through 117 highlights to decide which ones are related to personal growth?

User 1.png

It works, but it can be better.

Let's take a step back and find out how.

Context Research

Due to tight project timeline, I decided to adopt a research-driven design process. I started by investigating the origin and the business purpose of "Kindle Notes & Highlights" through literary review.

Business Story

In March 2013, Amazon acquired Goodreads to leverage its social components to create synergies for its book selling business.

Goodreads Logo - 1.png

Registered Member (2019)

Amazon Kindle Logo.png

Digital Reader USA Market Share (2019)

The Feature

To foster the integration between Goodreads and Kindle, the Goodreads team officially launched the "Kindle Notes & Highlights" feature in 2017.

"It's a quick way to review all the books in your Kindle library with notes and highlights, edit or add to your notes, and decide which ones to share with your friends to start a conversation."


── Goodreads Blog, 2017

User Research

Research Goals
  1. To understand users' motives in highlighting and adding notes on Kindle

  2. To identify how users make use of "Kindle Notes & Highlights"

  3. To recognize the improvement areas of "Kindle Notes & Highlights"

Guiding Questions
  1. Why do users highlight or add their notes on Kindle when they are reading?

  2. How do users retrieve their highlights or notes?

  3. Are users satisfied with "Kindle Notes & Highlights" feature on Goodreads?

  4. What are the things that users like or dislike the most about "Kindle Notes & Highlights"?

Work Desk

After understanding the project context, I designed the research plan to capture users' pain points and expectations on their Goodreads experiences.

  • Semi-structured interviews

  • Think-aloud task completion


3 Goodread users who use a Kindle, and are aware of the "Kindle Notes & Highlights" feature

Image by Sincerely Media
Analysis: Users' Pain Points

I created a codebook for thematic analysis and identified the major pain points faced by users in today's Goodreads platform.


Inflexible grouping system 

Highlights and notes could only be grouped by books. Users would face difficulties in finding a quote if there was a large collection of books.


Cluttered content

Information was not presented in a user-friendly way, especially the unused white space on the landing page and the crowded information on a book page.


Outdated aesthetics

The user interface had an old-fashion design with tight spacing.

I have to check the book one by one... It won't be as difficult if we can assign each quote into a shelf like we usually do for each book.

Look at all those wasted space on the right...Should have moved the books up there so it won’t end up with frustrating long scrolls

User 3.png
User 2.png

Design Principles

To address the problems faced by users, the prototype was designed based on the following design principles:



Group highlights and notes the way users prefer



Display information in an easily understandable order



Reduce distraction to show key information users need


Through research and qualitative data, I identified the users' needs for a flexible knowledge organization system on Goodreads. The reimagined "Kindle Notes & Highlights" consisted of the Book View and the Idea View to provide a dynamic experience that fulfilled multiple use cases.

Book View - Landing Page
Landing Page - 1.png

Before - Books were shown in list format along with excessive white space at the right column and between books. Users could access the detailed book page by clicking "View your notes and highlights".

Book View@2x.png

After - Books were displayed in grid format which minimized scrolling by a more focused and balanced visual design. Users could easily access the detailed book page by clicking each block.

Book View - Specific Book Page

The book page aimed to showcase the user's collection of highlights and notes. The user interface was redesigned to minimize distraction:

  • Removed secondary details such as shelving and community highlights

  • Integrated sharing and spoiler alert feature into the highlight body

Users could group similar ideas across books by creating personal "Idea" tags.

Book View – 4 (Idea)@2x.png
Idea View – 1 (Growth)@2x.png
Idea View

The newly designed Idea View provided a flexible organization system for users to group their highlights and notes the way they liked. 

Users could quickly retrieve highlights and notes on specific topics that were linked with an "Idea" tag.


As a huge reader myself, I have found the Goodreads website interface problematic for a while. When I conducted the interviews on "Kindle Notes & Highlights", I realized there are other people who share similar thoughts and they are glad that someone is trying to do something.

Happy Reading Time

All the books and highlights shown in the prototypes are some of my personal favorites, and I had a great time incorporating these personalized touches into the prototype.

The Biggest Challenge

It was difficult to decide which UX improvement should I prioritize within the tight timeline. It was not feasible to address every pain point mentioned by the users in 2 weeks.

What Did I Do?

I revisited all pain points from both secondary and primary research, and assigned them into one of the following categories:

  • Design

  • Business 

  • Technical


I decided to focus on the design aspect, which revolved around a rigid organization system along with multiple minor UI adjustments.

What If I Had More Time?

I would have conducted 2 to 3 rounds of usability testings to iterate on my prototype. 

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