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“I love this concept, the design execution and the product’s final result. I could definitely see myself and my friends using this to encourage each other to read more often and to discover new titles based on our preferences.” —juror Stephen Hadinger

“Clever concept. Excellent user interface, along with well-presented project documentation.” —juror Jason White

Overview: Intrigued by the challenge of encouraging more people to read printed books, designer Chung Yu Chen conducted research and interviews, finding that the most effective way of motivating people to read is by increasing their sense of being connected to other people. So Chen created a prototype of a sharing economy–based app called Tome, which enables users to find others with similar reading tastes. Instead of deepening the lines between books, social media and people, Tome seeks to rebuild the relationship between them.

• Chen created Tome for his master’s thesis project.
• The project includes a prototype of a mobile app, a promotional website (tomereads.me), a promotional video, and designs for a poster series, a postcard series and a letterpress bookmark.
• It took almost a year to complete.

Comments by Chung Yu Chen:
What are the project’s core features? “The core value of Tome is building the bridge between printed books and people. The idea was inspired by a quote by food journalist Michael Pollan: ‘You are what you eat.’ It’s the same in the book world—we are what we read. During my research, I found that most people start to read a book because their friends or others with similar reading tastes recommended it to them. To achieve this strong and trusted recommendation mechanism, Tome enables you to build a virtual bookshelf based on your book collection in the real world; this collection becomes your profile, which helps you connect with other users with similar reading tastes. With Tome, you can find thousands of books that were recommended by readers who have unique reading tastes, just like you. You can borrow books around the neighborhood from other users—the neighborhood becomes your library. Tome gives you the motivation to read more by visualizing your reading activities and connecting you to the right books, keeping you inspired.”

What was the thinking behind the navigational structure? “Tome uses a tab bar as the main navigational system, which is designed to be simple to understand and easy to use. It enables users to accomplish their tasks efficiently and helps them easily get back to reading.”

What was the response? “After publishing the project on Behance, it was featured in several design communities, including the AIGA Member Gallery, Adobe After Effects and the interaction gallery of Behance.”

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