Reimagining document consumption experience on smartphones
Adobe Acrobat is a PDF application that allows you to view PDFs. It allows you to create, edit, manage, and print PDF files with ease. What started as an internship thesis subject for me flourished into a funded project within the Acrobat team. The focus was primarily on how document can be semantic content chunks, further exploring the various navigation models and essentially making consumption of documents smooth and engaging. The concepts I worked on were later picked up for a feature called "Liquid mode" on Document Cloud.
Feb 2017 - Mar 2018
The scope of the project is to explore the visual look and feel of documents that do not have the conceptual baggage/do not follow the print media paradigm. The focus would be on sharing content, and review of content pieces, with collaborators rather than the whole document.
In this project, I did a detailed study on document constructs, their evolution into content chunks, a brief research about the existing technologies and applications that allow unconventionality in document consumption and authoring.
Through existing literature, I identify issues that may affect fluency and ease of reading on mobile devices. This knowledge helps me delve into explorations and experiments on consumption performance and perceived experience when on mobile screens.
I began my exercise by understanding a typical document lifecycle, which further helped me zoom into parts of the problem.
One of the exporations I did was to physically Print a document , cut it into pieces and arrange it for easy consumption. Stack them. Unstack them. fold tables along columns and rows,trying to draw parallels - how these inspire and mimic consumption or reading experiences in digital world vs. phycial world.
I set some ground rules for documents based on my study of 12+ documents and their constructs. That every documents can be divided into the following parts:
Get a gist of the document - Provide Overview
Jump to different sub sections - Aid in Easy Navigation
Length of content - Smart chunking
~ Explorations ~
These explorations above helped me rank my priorities and think of IA in a comprehensive way. I looked at how documents could be broken down into sections and have an executive summary. I explored navagation paradigms that can aid in brevity driven consumption experiences. I also explored how documents could have chat bots attached to them that provide summaries driven by AI. But as a stepping stone, I laid down these experience goals:
Always have the context of what you are reading. (without extra clicks)
Find the key points without scanning through dozens of pages in the document.
Tap on the point you’re looking for and directly jump into that section.
After a number of explorations, I handed off the project to the next designer who picked up the project and the foundations I set by design are currently reflected in the final design of the project:
Please reach to reach me to read my research thesis about document consumption on smartphones.