As you launch Goodreads, you’re greeted with this startup screen:
Note the large, finger-friendly buttons. Also note the Sign In and Sign Up links: These are not buttons, and were definitely harder to tap. I’ve had to keep tapping and tapping away until finally the Sign In link worked.
Once I logged into my account, I tapped the My Books button, which took me to a screen called… My Shelves:
A bit of a consistency issue there, but nothing major. Note how gracefully the app shifts from landscape to portrait mode: the layout actually changes, and screen space is efficiently used in both layouts. Typography is rather on the large side.
Now let’s shift back to landscape mode, and tap the “read” link:
This is the list of all the books I’ve read (or rather, all the books I told Goodreads about). Note the handy sorting buttons on top. The “more…” button also lets you sort by number of pages, average ratings, and lots of other categories:
One thing you need to realize is that every operation you do takes time. A “Loading…” prompt appears whenever you access a book listing or a new section of the app. There’s even a “Sorting…” prompt when you sort the book list according to the less common criteria. Using the app is not a very fast experience.
Next, let’s look at the listing for an individual book:
This is just the beginning of the listing. It goes on to encompass lots of other functionality:
You can also tap into individual users’ reviews. You can do almost anything you can do on the site, using the mobile application. It’s very complete in terms of functionality.
Now let’s look at the profile page:
Again, you can drill down into any book listing, going to the book page and from there to individual full-length reviews.
While you’re on the go, you may want to search for your next read. Indeed, Goodreads has a built-in search screen which looks like this:
I was disappointed to discover there is no way to sort the list of results. The same rich filtering functionality implemented in “My Shelves” would definitely come in handy for the search screen as well. I hope future versions will incorporate it.
Now let’s look at the listing for a book I haven’t read and isn’t on my shelves:
As you can see, I can easily add the book onto one of my shelves, rate it or review it. I imagine reviews written using the mobile app would typically be shorter, unless you have a fantastic mobile keyboard.
The last screenshot I wanted to show you is another landscape screenshot showing user-generated reviews for a book. Note the efficient use of screen space:
At the end of the day, Goodreads for Android is a lovely mobile companion for the website. You may not be able to use it to find your next book, but if you routinely use the website, the app is a great way to update your profile on the go and let the world know what you’ve recently read or what you plan on reading.
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