NetGalley is a very active site – it’s the go-to place if you want a digital galley (an early copy) of a book, a common need for book reviewers. When we kicked off the project, they were working with a 7-year code base, cobbled together over a number of teams, some outsourced over the years. They needed a fresh start, a real designer, and someone to update the UX. Aaron Miller handled the massive technical overhaul (taking the database down from 312 tables (yikes!) to 22, for example), while I spent time migrating key concepts into the new version of the site. It needed to have a lot of the same functionality, but it needed to be organized into logical steps, and simplified. There are a number of sortable lists, dashboards and settings options that could have seemed overwhelming to users had we not spent time making the complex seem easy! It also had to highlight book covers and content, so the graphics needed to be subtle and clean.
Since the site is essentially a marketplace for requesting and delivering files (EPUB, MOBI, PDF), there are two types of users: publishers and reviewers, with a number of subtypes within those groups. It was inspired by the attention to cover images and simplicity that you see on Netflix, a highly browsable website. It was also driven by the sortability and organization I see LinkedIn members use to mange connections and permissions. I did the discovery, UX and graphic design for the site. It launched in October 2012.