Helping universities sell textbooks to their students.
In 2013 Akademos asked me to redesign the Course Search and Shopping Cart sections of TextbookX to appeal to students using mobile devices. I also conducted user research to define the project’s goals and tested the new site with students to validate the design before handoff to the development team.
Students found materials incorrectly.
Before the redesign many students were purchasing the wrong materials for their courses because they started using TextbookX by searching for a book. Instead, Akademos wanted students to find their courses first and then see a list of required materials so they could be sure to add the right ones to their shopping cart.
Solution: Help students find their courses first.
I did two things to help students shift from searching for books to searching for courses. First, I downplayed search tools on TextbookX by pushing them into the background. Second, I designed better course search tools and made them prominent in the new design which made them an obvious first step.
Price is the key factor for students.
During my initial research I learned that students consider price to be the most important factor when making a textbook purchase. Students need to feel like they’re getting the lowest price for a textbook – and saving money – or they’ll shop elsewhere.
SOLUTION: Gaming the Shopping Cart
My design solution presents a set of tools next to a TextbookX price that let students “game the system.” They can adjust purchase options to save as much as possible before they add an item to their shopping cart. We went through three rounds of testing with college students to get the shopping cart tools right.
A White Label Design that Scales
Akademos currently provides TextbookX to over 220 colleges and universities by integrating it into their .edu websites. To help Akademos developers manage these integrations, I created a Design System that makes it easy to match a school’s colors and brand with some simple CSS code.