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Research Design for Knovel (Academic)

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  • Research Design for Knovel

    This research design was proposed as a part of an academic project at University of Washington, Human-Centered Design and Engineering: User-Centered Design class, taught by Professor Skip Walter. The scope of this project was to propose an innovative and desirable-viable-feasible business model to the management of Knovel Corporation.


  • After the preliminary analysis of Knovel, we found significant scope of research and enhancement in making My Knovel social. My Knovel is a personalized page of a Knovel subscriber which helps him customize his experience of utilizing Knovel. The subscriber can manage and organize his saved content of all types that he has accessed from Knovel repository.

    About Knovel: Knovel is a web-based technical and engineering information repository to help engineers of diverse fields to solve their problems in technical information space. Knovel currently has subscriptions from 300 universities, 73 Fortune 500 companies, 7 major engineering design companies and from 6 of the major players in Oil and Gas Industry. It has over 2200 leading reference works as well as a link to the databases from multiple international sources.

    Challenge: Knovel has already established itself as a leader in online in online information resources for engineering and other technical streams. However, the challenge was to enhance the appeal of My Knovel and enabling it to be not only a customized user specific information built on Knovel repository but also facilitate social interaction within engineering community and outside, thus making it a single point of reference for an engineer (user benefit) and more visible on social networks (Knovel business goal).  

    My Role: User Researcher, Creative Facilitator, UX Designer

    Process: Creative Brief - User Research - Derive Insights (determined Desirability factor) - Developed a Concept of a Business Model (from Viability and Desirability factor) - Conceptual and Behavioral Prototype (Based on Feasibility factor) - Usability/Desirability and Viability Test - Useful Design


  • Proposed high-fidelity wireframes for the concept: 
  • MyKnovel Dashboard (User view):

    Features include: 
    • Left sidebar with folders to save/bookmark and share content
    • Timeline to demonstrate student's projects
    • List of materials he used as reference in his education
    • Online Dropbox with important documents that could be shared
    • Listings information sessions and job fairs bookmarked by the users

    Parts or the whole dashboard could then be published on a public facing website by the student.

  • Edit Timeline:

    Students could add relevant projects to their timeline to keep their profile updated and content rich. The content is parsed to generate tags. Students could update his timeline by choosing to view it by Week, Month or Year. 

  • Project Page: 

    MyKnovel will also serve as an ideal platform for a student to build and publish project pages. For each project, student could add a description, project files and other important media files. Recruiters can view all project pages for their reference.
  • Job / Connections Page:

    Either 1. Based upon the profile built by the student or 2. Search term entered by the student, the relevant useful content for finding employment is displayed –
    1. Jobs matching your profile: Aggregates all the open positions from external sources and feeds it into student's dashboard.
    2. Related Profiles on social networks: Based upon student's profile, important people on social network are displayed for students to be able to connect with.
    3. Information Session / Job Fairs: Aggregated data from student's profile is used to recommend student with important networking events for finding an employment.