From undistracted to instant reading and back
Prototyping a new digital library service
Keywords:web books, next-book, Research through Design, design thinking, libraries, digital reading
New technologies and digital services influence the current forms of reading, and libraries respond to these possibilities by offering new services based mainly on ebooks. The constraints resulting from the recent waves of the COVID-19 pandemic have reinforced this trend. This work introduces the development process of new library services based on open web books experimentally developed at Masaryk University and the Municipal Library of Prague. Our initial research focused on people’s behavior when reading a book in a browser, on elements of user interface interactions, and the overall context of reading on different types of devices, especially mobile. Through a Research through Design approach, qualitative inquiry, and prototyping, we have identified interesting patterns in reading behavior and library users’ needs, to which we have responded by designing a new service. We converted the new service concept into interactive prototypes in the Figma tool, which we further tested and iterated. The research supports reading in the digital world and brings new information about reading behavior in the age of instant digital services.