Aimlessly browsing the shelves of a bookstore has to be one of the greatest experiences in life. I set out to create a digital experience that would do justice to the afternoon I spent at Hammond’s Books, a local bookstore with a collection of over 80,000 rare, used, and out-of-print books purchased by a single knowledgeable and tasteful curator, Jovanka Hammond.
How might the site encourage “aimless” browsing (like the in-store experience) rather than a direct search and find and purchase process (like online booksellers)? In order to perpetuate the non-linear experience of in-store browsing, I incorporated the element of chance into the user’s navigation.
One of my priorities was emphasizing the role of the owner, Jovanka, as curator—as an expert of books she lovingly chooses to purchase and sell (what might a user learn from the owner that they couldn’t learn elsewhere?). Rather than including a traditional synopsis of each book, I included both a brief excerpt and a short, personal statement from Jovanka about the contents.