DTTPPM Portfolio

Tall Tales

a social media platform designed to connect users with other like-minded readers and help them build community.


Product Experience

Problem Space 

Problem Statement  

“How might we help social readers connect with others and build an engaging community so that they can share their excitement about the books they are reading with other like-minded readers?”

Problem Background  

This problem space originated from my own struggles in trying to find like-minded readers to connect with. Oftentimes, when reading a book I really enjoy, I have a strong desire to share my thoughts and feelings about the exciting things going on in the story with others who are also familiar with it. However, it is usually a struggle to find others who have read the same book as me and share the same level of excitement as I do. In speaking with readers in my social circle I found that many of them experienced a similar struggle in finding like-minded readers to connect to as well. We try to bridge that gap by talking with friends and family members (whether they are readers or not), but they are unable to match our excitement or even interest in talking about the book. Some others try to connect with people online, but find interactions with strangers to be an unpredictable, mixed bag of people with disparate interests. It was in my attempt to address this pain point that the problem space began to be defined.

Research Plan

The research plan involved two methods of gathering information. Firstly, I sent out a survey that was shared with as many readers as I could find. This helped me to validate the problem and confirm that indeed, many readers did have a desire to connect with like-minded others. With this confirmation, I decided to conduct user interviews to hear target users express themselves in their own words in order to get a deeper understanding of the problem.

I conducted several user interviews with people who had responded to the survey. The user interviews were particularly helpful, as they provided me with insight into the different ways in which readers like to engage with others. There were some surprising insights, which challenged some of my assumptions and led me to refine my problem statement.

Research Insights

  • 100% of respondents indicated that they wish they could have conversations about the books they are reading with others who have read the same book.
  • Of respondents who seek out others to converse with, 50% were unsuccessful in finding them. This indicates an underlying pain point that needs to be addressed.
  • Survey responses indicated a strong motivation amongst the target group to see others’ opinions as well as share their own, thereby further validating that readers have a strong motivation to seek out connection and community.
  • When it comes to building community, target users highlighted a need for shared activities as well as shared interests.
  • Users were interested in participating in book clubs, but struggled to maintain in-person organized events due to busy schedules and difficulty finding like-minded people in their social circle.
  • User interviews indicated that some readers want to avoid all negative opinions about their favourite books and only want to connect with others who have positive views of the books.
  • Interviewees also expressed a strong preference for smaller group interactions and would rather share their excitement about books with people whom they have established a culture and rapport of doing so with.
  • Interviewees also expressed that current online book platforms did not adequately meet their need for personalised book recommendations, tailored to their specific interests (as opposed to general recommendations that might be made to everyone who liked a particular genre for example).

Landing on the Solution

The proposed solution is a social network designed to meet the specific connection and community-building needs of the social reader. New users will be guided through the process of setting up a personal “Reader Profile”, in which they will be able to detail their desired level of connection with other readers, as well as their interests and preferred styles of interaction. 

Based on the target users’ pain points, I knew I wanted to create the following features:

  • A personalized matchmaking feature, allowing users to connect with other like-minded readers who are currently reading or have recently read the same book as them at the press of a button.
  • An option for users to choose between one-on-one connections, small groups or larger moderated forums.
  • Chat boxes and video-conferencing capabilities for ease and convenience of communication methods.
  • Specialized recommendations based on books currently owned or listed as “to be read”
  • Ability to track statistics about books (books/pages read, series etc)


Below are some mock-ups of the reader-matching feature.

Future Steps

In the future, I would like to work with a designer and developer to launch an MVP of this product, test the prototype amongst target users, and receive feedback on changes to make that improve the final product for target users.

An initial launch of the product would focus on a mobile app, with the hope of expanding to a web app in the future.


Product Manager Learnings:

Lisa Afundu

This Co.Lab Sprint experience taught me the importance of conducting in-depth research in order to truly gain a deep understanding of the problem space based on the needs of target users. Since my original problem space idea was based on my own personal pain points as a reader, it was tempting to fall into the trap of over-relying on my own experience as a guide for understanding the problem space. However, through user interviews, I was able to understand the problem space from a different point of view and identify pain points that were specific to readers who had a more introverted personality type than me. This allowed me to come up with an overall more robust solution that was more inclusive of the needs of many readers, not just my own.

This sprint also gave me an opportunity to get experience using Figma and creating mockups and prototypes, which is an area of interest for me and a useful skill to have.

Designer Learnings:

Developer Learnings:

Developers Learnings:


Full Team Learning