Helping readers to focus

Focused reading mode helps readers to immerse in reading by eliminating the need to regularly tap or swipe to progress through a book. As the sole product designer, I initiated and led the end-to-end design process.


Many reading apps require users to regularly tap or swipe to progress through a book, which can be tiresome and repetitive after extended reading. The goal was to rethink the way we interact with text content and create a distraction-free, immersive reading experience.

Starting point

There are two common types of interactions for paging through a book:

Horizontal swipe or tap
+ Familiar metaphor from physical books.
- Requires user's input at the end of every page.
- Transition during paging can be interruptive.

Vertical scroll
+ Less interruptive reading experience than horizontal swipe/tap, as the content doesn't need to be refreshed at the end of every page.
- It still requires the user to regularly swipe.

The vertical scroll is already well adopted pattern and the benefit of content not refreshing regularly made it a good candidate for further exploration.

How do people hold their phone?

I looked at how people hold their devices and where their thumb naturally rests to think about where and how readers can provide the input to progress through a book.

An image from How we hold our gadgets by Josh Clark November 03, 2015.

Focused reading area

Only a portion of the content is displayed to anchor reader’s eyes and help them focus.

Press to scroll

The thumb can comfortably rest on the bottom of the screen to automatically scroll the content.

Swipe to go back

Quickly scroll back or forward at any time by swiping downward or upward.

Changing scroll speed

Scroll speed can be changed by tapping the middle of the screen.

Hands free mode

Double tapping the bottom area locks scrolling and tapping it again stops it.


Method and System for Continuous Reading Mode / Jun 27, 2014 / us 20150378534 A1