What is Product Deconstruct?
As a part of my blog, I look at learning solutions, not from an educator’s lens but as an aspiring product builder. I focus on the user experience, stickiness and refrain from divulging into content and quality of the content. My goal is to learn from these solutions, understand what sticks and drops and sharpen my product sense. I hope you enjoy reading these!
About EPIC – A digital Library
EPIC is a digital library for kids under the age of 12. The platform offers three types of content – follow-along books, audio books and videos.
The platform is used in more than 90% of US elementary schools. In 2021, 50 million kids were reading on the platform and 2 million teachers used EPIC as a supplementary product in their classroom. (Source: Techcruch)
For this deconstruct, I signed up as a parent to experience the solution as a stakeholder who is also a decision maker. As a parent, I created a login for my child profile also named Vishakha.
After downloading, the app launched with a carousel with three screens.
The carousel launch screen provided me with the following information at the first glance:
- 40,000 plus titles
- Personalized journey
- Teacher trusted and safe
Post sign up, the following screen appears:
I wonder: As a parent, once I sign in without providing any financial information, my first preference is to explore and understand the offering. From launch screen to signing in, the parent needs to discover the product before making a choice to convert into a paid user.
EPIC has a mascot that is deeply rooted in the user journey. It begins with an egg that hatches into an animal and that animal accompanies the child through their reading journey from reminders to recommendations and repeat reads.
The mascot is a fun and engaging way to keep the child on a learning path without making it a chore.
As soon as I signed up as a parent and added an account for a child, I received an email.
The email to a parent provided the following information:
- How to send books to my child
- Track progress
- The value prop
The email also had the following CTA’s (Call to action):
- Send book to child
- Check it out (I would have written ‘Track Progress’)
2. In-app notification:
As a child, as soon as I finished Book #1, I received an in-app notification to add reminders.
I wonder: Would it be better to send a notification to the parent for reminders and prioritize content recommendations and gamified activities for children?
As a parent and a child, I did not use the app for three days to observe the notifications and reminders I receive via email.
In the three days, I received four emails that included the following messages and CTA’s:
- Tips to get the child to read more
CTA: Bedtime reads, Dictionary Look up tool, Read-to-me books.
- Child’s reading activity progress – Books explored and read and time spent per In this email, as a parent, I was encouraged to send the child a virtual high-five in the form of a message. (This was super impressive to bring the parent into the positive reinforcement process)
CTA: See all progress, Send books.
- Send a book and more recommendations based on interests.
CTA: Send books
I wonder: Four emails in three days seems too frequent. Would it be better to build a strong CTA per email and reduce the frequency to two emails per week?
The home page is simple and clean. As a user, the app gives me the opportunity to explore, based on interests and select favorites.
The search page shows me the popular searches and the 71 categories. To my surprise, EPIC also allows me to read books in French, Spanish and Chinese.
Subscription: Free vs Paid experience
Two things stand out in the free vs paid experience:
- As a child subscribed to the free trial, I am only allowed to read one follow-along book a day.
- Videos, audio books, quizzes, word search and other gamified activities are behind a paywall.
I wonder: The value proposition of EPIC is the digital library. If the paywall is built up behind the USP, would it affect retention? Would a paywall make sense for features like follow-alongs or to track progress in conjunction with reading levels per grade or common standards?
Once I added a book to my favorites, I earned a badge – Favorite Book.
There are a total of 41 badges ranging from Read 5 books, Read 1x/3x/10x books about dogs. These badges can also be printed (which I thought was super cool as it was ingrained into the app)
The parent dashboard is simple. It provides the parent with the following updates:
- Which books has my child read and when?
- If there are multiple children on the account, I get information per profile.
- If the reading was assigned through an educator, I get to know assignments and status.
- Great product with a habit-building user experience.
- EPIC’s USP is clear. It’s a digital library for kids.
- For parents who are able to make the switch to Unlimited, the cost is USD 9.99 per month if billed monthly and USD 79.99 if billed annually. If a parent is looking to build a positive screen time habit, EPIC is a great option not just for books but learning videos, quizzes etc.
Thank you to the following resource that simplified the product teardown/deconstruct process: