android app redesign

Goodreads Android customers had been lacking meaningful updates to their app for years. The app was slow and had usability issues. Plus, it was missing major features that existed in the iOS app. Our multi-disciplinary team and our stakeholders agreed it was time to rebuild the app using newer back-end services that would increase the performance and speed of the app, as well as allow us to update the app more quickly in the future. It was a major undertaking, but it would be a giant step forward for our customer experience and would also deliver major value to the company.

Goodreads Android App UI for key screens: book detail page, updates feed, book cover scanner, and recommendations.

my role

I was the lead designer on this project, bringing the UI from pencil sketches to the final visual designs. I worked closely with the design team, especially Sarah Ohye, the Goodreads iOS app designer. Our goal was to bring the iOS and Android apps as close as possible in terms of UX while honoring the standard interaction patterns of the respective platforms.

Early in the project, I did a deep dive into our progress so far (bottom left) versus what was needed to reach parity with the old app's features and navigation.

Communication with beta testers, in-lab research, and managing feedback received via email.

continuous research

I also conducted evaluative research at a regular cadence throughout the redesign. I designed a mixed-method research plan that included in-lab usability tests, un-moderated tests, and a beta testing program. Our data scientist, Shivani Sheth, helped us identify representative Goodreads Android customers to invite to our beta testing program and monitor their usage of the beta app.

In the end, we had over 3,000 beta testers try out the app in the months before launch. I managed communication with the testers and worked closely with Jamay Lau, the product manager, to categorize their feedback and prioritize our roadmap. We had to make tough choices about what could be feasibly included in our launch, but our constant communication with our customers helped us to make informed decisions.

Design systems: To make the Android app feel modern and "cut from the same cloth" as the iOS app, I implemented updated brand colors and adapted the UI to fit Material Design standards.

the outcome

The app launched on-time to positive feedback and with major increases in core business metrics, such as user retention and number of books shelved in the app. The best part about this project was that it set the team up to work in a more agile and iterative fashion post-launch.

The amazing Goodreads Android team! Our team consisted of a product manager, a senior dev manager, a QA lead, a technical program manager, 6 developers, support from our awesome QA and DA team, and a designer/researcher (me!)--but really the entire Goodreads organization contributed to the success of the redesign.

additional skills

  • houseplant rehabilitation
  • kerning guidance
  • fixing your very biased online survey
  • cat-sitting
  • gig-economy commentary


© amy bickerton
she, her