Cynthia Yue

WBUR Bookshelf

This project examines the question: can we design a book-finding experience for WBUR listeners that compels them to purchase books?

The WBUR Bookshelf is a section of that presents all books discussed on WBUR radio programs. WBUR provides rich book-related content that can be associated with Amazon’s affiliate marketing program, and thus help raise money for public radio.

See the Coded Prototype

My Design Role
Visual Design
User Research

The Team
1 UX Director
1 Front-end Developer
1 Digital Strategist
1 Copy Editor
1 UX Designer (me)

InVision Prototype
HTML/CSS Prototype
User Tests
User Interviews
Online Survey

Google Analytics
Survey Monkey

About the Project

This project was part of my summer internship at WBUR’s BizLab – a business innovation lab geared toward running quick UX experiments to identify sustainable revenue streams to fund public radio.



User Research

Quantitative Findings


take book recommendations from radio


cite friends and family as their favorite resource for book recs


friends and family is the top resource for book recs


read on a daily basis


listen to public radio on a daily basis


website entrances through program-specific or the wbur homepages are 2x more engaged

*based on 208 survey responses and Google Analytics data

Qualitative Findings


Use Cases & User Flows


As a daily WBUR listener, I want to find a book that I heard about while listening to one of of my favorite WBUR programs so that I can read it during my commutes.

Amanda's user flow


The local bookstore doesn’t carry the next book I want to read, but Amazon does. As a WBUR fan, I want to support WBUR while I shop for books on Amazon so I feel less guilty.

Rob's user flow

Competitive Analysis

See the full competitive analysis

The New York Times

NPR Book Concierge

Boston Public Library

Key Finding

Design Iterations

Sketches & Wireframes

Prepared quick sketches and wireframes to present internally to the team.


Details hover

Extended book details


Details hover

Extended book details

Internal Feedback

InVision Prototypes & User Testing

Next, I created two prototypes to explore different layouts that present book related content. To gather more user feedback, I recruited six participants for user tests and interviews.



User Feedback

Coded Prototype

As part of a 7-day experiment, we launched responsive prototype and directed traffic from the homepage. This was implemented with Google Analytics and Inspectlet (a screen recording tool) to help us analyze user behavior and measure results.

See the Coded Prototype

Coded prototype - top of page

Coded prototype - bottom of page

Prototype in action


More Design Explorations

While the WBUR bookshelf was designed based on user needs, 10 items purchased over the course of a 7-day experiment did not justify further investment. As a next step, we decided to polish some existing book related content and run additional experiments to gauge conversion rates for different book content layouts.

Comparing book sales from a book specific article (left) and summer reading list (right)

Next Steps

The Summer Reading List resulted in 90 purchases after a 7-day long experiment, making it the best converting layout by far.

The next iteration of the Bookshelf should incorporate the following key findings and present in a list like format. This will help us meet business objectives while better serving our users.

Reiterating Important Findings