Research people's reading habit and collect data from a group of people that are interested in leisure reading and create a nudge that helps those who would like to read more to accomplish their reading goals.


Key Skills

Primary and Secondary Research, System Diagrams, Concept Presentation, Mockups

Course Advisor

A design research project about the reading habit that aimed at making
people to read more for leisure.

Project Length

4 weeks

Project Teammate

Jay Wang, Anchi Hsin

Project Role

Ideation, research, survey, interview, presentation.

Project Background

According to an online survey on people’s reading purposes conducted in 2012, 80% of Americans age 16 and older suggested that they read occasionally for leisure [8]. However, people’s reading habits have changed over time [1].

Reading for leisure, as a pastime activity, has been decreased over time statistically. The latest survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that since 2004, the share of Westerns who read for leisure each day has fallen by more than 30% [3]. Average daily reading time among Americans has declined from an average of 23 minutes per person in 2004 to 17 minutes in 2017 [3]. This phenomenon is applied to all genders and ages.

How might we encourage people to read more?


By sending visual feedback and competitive analysis of the readers who have reading habits or inclined to read that are in the same reading community, they will have a higher chance to read more frequently.


We tried to design this experiment is to find out ways that will enable people to read for leisure more frequently than their current status.

Data Gathering Duration


At first, we sent out our surveys to our family, friends, and online communities. Through completing our survey, we were able to filter out our ideal testing participants by choosing the ones who were willing to read more and the ones who had already established the habit of leisure reading.

After the screening process, we filtered out the ones who do not read at all, are not willing to read, or are not willing to participate with our project.

At the end of screening process, we were able to secure 28 people.


"If I wasn't busy I usually read 30 minutes or more every day, depending on what I read!"

-Jamie, college student

I want to read more, but I don't really read during the semester. I read during breaks.

-Grace, college student

"I read around 4 times a week before going to bed. Each reading would take me approximately 20 minutes on average."

-Alice, college student

"I sometimes read a book a day and take break; not consistent due to work load."

-Megan, graphic designer

For my commute to work I try to read more heavy based political/history books,which are harder to read. At home I can read 1-3 vols of manga a day so my main goal is to pace myself with 1-2 chapters of dense reading and 1-2 manga/graphic novels vols a day.

-Karina, office staff


The screening process was insightful, and here are a few things we learned from what was shared:


People's daily reading time is different from one to the other, due to various reasons, such as workload or personal reading goal.


People don't ebstablish a regular reading habit, may need help to develop regular reading habit.


Everyone has a different reading pace, preference, and life schedule. Some people may focus on the quantity over quality to accomplish their reading goals.


At the end of the screening process, we had gathered 28 people from the example pool that are willing to read more for leisure and to participate in our experiment. In the first part of the experiment, we asked each individual participants about their daily reading time for the purpose of establishing individual profiles for later separating the testers into control and testing groups.

The profiles we had created are based on the testers’ reading frequencies. All testers were categorized into 3 different profiles: high, medium, and low. For the high frequency profiles, the testers in the group read for 6-7 days a week,medium profile read for 2-5 times a week, while the low profile read for about 0-1 time a week.

After the first part of the experiment, we categorized all testers into 3 groups: control group, testing group 1, and testing group 2. The amount of high, medium, and low profiles were separated equally among all groups for the sake of accuracy of our testing results.

During the second part of our experiment, we continued asking the control group about their reading frequencies without introducing any nudges.

Daily reminder                  +                    No Nudge

For the testing group 1, along with asking about their reading progress, the nudge we introduced was to show the testers about their accumulative reading progress in a graph that was updated by us manually everyday.

Daily reminder         +         Their daily progress in a graph

For testing group 2, we continued asking them about their reading progress each day and sent them the graph similar to group 1 with additional information about the average reading volume of all participants, so that participants in group 2 not only were able to view their own progress, but also were able to see the comparison between their own reading time in contrast to the collective average.

Daily reminder      +          Their daily progress and the group's                                                        average reading time in a graph

All participants are categorized into different reading frequency groups.

We have recorded each person's daily reading time.


We evaluate each participant's reading frequency by this formula:


People in the control group had almost no change of behavior at all. Reading frequency remained roughly the same.


People from the testing group 1 has read significantly less after the nudge was introduced.


People from the testing group 3 have read a little bit more compare to before the nudge was introduced.

All 3 Groups Combined

After the experiment period was over, we can see a pattern of how the nudge has influenced the readers' reading behavior as different groups have exhibited different trends of behavior changes: the control group remains the same, testing group 1 read less, and testing group 2 read more.

Special Case Study #1

One participant from testing group 1 has showed an exemplary behavior change that fits into the trend of the group. After starting to receive their own graph of progress, this participant has completely stopped reading.

Special Case Study #2

One participant from testing group 2 has also showed an exemplary behavior of the group. After starting to receive their own graph of progress and competitive standards, this participant went from not reading at all to start reading almost everyday.


As the frequency rate of the control group mostly remains the same, we have learned that only receiving daily reminders won’t affect people’s reading frequency. Lastly, as the percentage of testing group 2 increases, we can conclude that having visual feedback of self reading progress combined with competitive analysis at the same time will increase the reading frequency.

The testing result supports our hypothesis.


If we are able to take this project further, one of our future plan is to do more qualitative researches so that we will be able to gather more valuable insights. In our post-study survey, we found that one of the difficulties our participants have faced during the whole experiment was that they wanted to read more but were often distracted by their computers or phones. One design opportunity for us is to make people spend more time on reading books instead of using their digital devices for other tasks.

Time is a huge factor in this project. When people are busy, they either failed sticking with their goals or they do so with low efficiency. One possibility of the future development of this project is to help people to stick to their reading goals more effortlessly.

From the final result of the entire experiment, we found that a competitive environment motivates people to read more, but it also gives them stress. However, we believe that as long as we can make the experience fun, the stress will be a good nudge in this context.