Ideation for an Avid Reader

Good ideas are common – what’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about.

– Ashleigh Brilliant

There are many different apps for book lovers, but they all have their flaws. Some you have to pay for, some are toxic, and others don’t properly track your reading progress. 

This week I came up with a few ideas I would include if I could create my own reading app. 

To generate some ideas, I focused on three different ideation techniques to get my mind flowing with great designs. 

First Technique: Brain Dumping

Brain dumping is pretty much recording your stream of consciousness when thinking about a topic or idea. Once you get your brain flowing, it allows you to record and document thoughts, feelings, ideas, and more that you can organize and dive deeper into at a later date. Essentially, you are dumping the thoughts in your head onto the page. 

To get started with brain dumping, I started off talking about one of my favorite apps and one of my least favorite apps. This got my brain flowing in a state of consciousness that made it a lot easier to come up with ideas. 

These ideas are just based on some of my favorite and least favorite features of each app. It was then easier to play off one another and continue to add and break down each idea further. 

I didn’t waste time correcting spelling or grammar and just focused on writing down ideas.

I could feel myself start to run out of steam and decided to stop at that time. Looking back, it would be interesting to keep going and start writing about more apps on my phone.  

Second Technique: Sketching

The ideation technique of sketching can take many forms, but this time I focused on drawing hypothetical outlines of what some of the pages of the app could potentially look like, or also called wireframing

I started off by drawing a potential main screen, home screen, and review page. After looking at what I drew, I wanted to change the review page’s layout and add more content. I wanted to do this because a lot of the apps I use now provide little information, and I wanted to take the opportunity to add elements such as trigger warnings and recommendations. 

This technique was a lot of fun, but I feel like it focused more on the app’s visual elements instead of the content. I feel like this could be an excellent ideation technique in the later stages of the design thinking process, instead of coming up with content ideas in general. 

Third Technique: Mind Mapping

My favorite technique of the bunch is mind mapping. Mind mapping is a visual tool to help organize information. The theme or question starts in the middle of the page, and then the main elements branch off from there. The point of the map is to continue to break down information and ideas. 

Ideas circled in red are ideas I would focus on and develop further.

Creating this mind map was a lot of fun until I started running out of room. I started off that the top, in red, the tracking elements of the app. It became apparent that I was running out of space very quickly, so I moved on to the next primary component. 

By the time I got around the map, I was flowing with ideas and it was fairly easy to fill up space. If I had more room to work, I feel like I could have pushed myself further and come up with more ideas. 

Conclusion

Overall, the mind mapping technique was my favorite because it felt like a combination of brain dumping and sketching. The sketching resulted in the most ideas generated, but these ideas were very specific to one element of the overall app design. 

By only using three ideation techniques, I was able to come up with 37 ideas within a couple of hours. Imagine if I used five more techniques or expanded a little more on each idea? It is crazy the number of ideas generated just by thinking a little differently. 


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