Improving User Experience Medium’s Reading List — A UX Case Study

This is a personal project to enhance my design skills and give me a solution for my own problems.

Why did I choose Medium and why redesign it?

I have been using Medium for a long time to improve my skills especially in the design field, discover new things, and simply to read something. I loved reading in this app, the articles from this app are wonderful and beautifully written. I learned so much from this app. However, my habit of reading articles on Medium has made my experience a mess.

The feature I used the most was the Reading List. I used this feature for my references. I frequently saved articles and I will read them when I have time. Sometimes, the articles that I have read still needed. I would read again when I need them to remind my retention.

So, I redesign this app to solve my nuisances.

Before I jump to a new design Medium app, I will clearly explain the pain point of my own problems. I began with some problematic assumptions about the current Reading List. These assumptions were made based on my initial encounter with the problems and some further exploration.

Here they are…

  1. Archived articles are saved in the same Reading List even though they do not quite belong together.

As I said before, I used the Medium app to improve my design skills. I read some articles related to UI/UX field, and you know that this field is quite large. There are basic UI, principles of UX, prototyping, design tools tips, career advice, and many more. I also read some articles unrelated to UI/UX, such as self-improvement and productivity. Archived articles are essential for me because they help to remind my retention. Sometimes, I need to read them again when I forget what I had learned. If all of those categories are saved in the same Reading List, it would spend time to find a specific article.

2. There is no search bar on the Reading List to search the articles.

This is an alas. How did I find an article that I want when the search function is not provided? The only way is to search it manually, by scrolling through my Reading List. Then I have to open those articles one by one when I want to read a specific article. This is so frustrating.

3. Articles on the home page are not provided with a save button.

When I was scrolling the home page, I regularly found some articles that catch my attention. I want to read it but I can’t at that time, it can be I was busy with my work or the article itself are too lengthy to read. So I need to add them to my Saved Reading List. I will read them when I have enough time. But unfortunately, there is no save button on the articles. I have to open the article first before I can save it to my Reading List.

The current version of the Medium app

The Redesign

I began with a thorough analysis of my nuisances from the app and explored what existed and where there was room for further exploration.

Pain Point #1 and #2

The current version of the Reading List screen

Let’s see how I worked with this screen

A new concept for The Reading List screen
  1. The first thing that I did was add a search function so that the user can search an article or collection name quickly without scrolling through the Reading List and no need to open the article one by one when they want to find a specific article. I don’t know why Medium doesn’t provide this function on their mobile app whereas they provided it on their website.
  2. I organize articles in groups based on their topic. The main goal is to make user can find an article easier and sharper because it’s already compound in the same place. Besides that, categorization generates a display of well-organized information.

When I think about this idea, I remember the Instagram Collection, Youtube Playlist, and Pinterest Board. So I embrace this idea and put it into my work. I adopt the Instagram Collection because I think it is the simplest among Youtube and Pinterest.

Pain Point #3

The current version of the home screen

Let’s see how I worked with it. I am not just improving the screen but also the experience.

A new concept for Medium home screen
  1. I add a save button to let users save articles without open them first. I also add a “more” button so that they can take another action for the article.
  2. I exchange the position of Notification and Reading List. The reason is the bottom navigation has already such a same structure. Home is the place where the articles are displayed. On this screen, you can discover a lot of articles that you haven’t read. Profile is the place where you can see your own articles and add a new article. That’s all about articles. But, Notification is the place where you get some feedback from others; clapped for your article, followed you, or commented on your article. However, it’s just a notification. So, I decided to exchange both of them. I think Reading List is more precise to put on the bottom navigation than Notification. Besides that, the Notification button is usually on the top bar next to the Search button.
I also make a Hi-fi design to add an article to the Saved Reading List.

Conclusion

Overall, I think this concept is still lack because I don’t conduct research and exploration adequately. The problems and the proposed solution can be validated more accurately. However, the purpose of this case study is to overcome my own nuisances from using this app and to give a solution for myself.

Last but not least thank you for reading! ❤

Creating a seamless path for a user to achieve their goal. My design portofolio on dribbble >> https://dribbble.com/Icharianii