Weekend PM

Why Readwise is a great example of user-centric product design?

Apps with great User Experiences (UX) aren’t talked about a lot. Reason? One, the number of apps with great UX are quite scarce. And two, the UX in some of the apps are so good, it misses our radar. Readwise is one such app.

I came across Readwise a year back through my friend Sanjeev. Until I came across it, I had no idea I’d want such an app. I tried it out for a week and have been a paid user since then.

What is Readwise?

For those who don’t know, Readwise helps you bring all your book and article highlights from various tools and sources into one single location and helps you revisit them frequently.

How Readwise changed my thinking process?

Before getting to the design part, let’s take a quick look at how Readwise helps unify your knowledge consumption process.

Before Readwise

My knowledge consumption workflow was siloed. I used to read a lot on Kindle and the iBooks app on my phone and make highlights whenever I come across something interesting. Apart from books, I read a bunch of articles each day which I usually discover through Reddit, Hacker News, and publications I subscribed to via Substack. Whenever I come across an interesting article, instead of highlighting portions of it, I bookmark the entire article on Raindrop and add a tag to it.

And, being part of the startup ecosystem, I also spend a lot of time on Twitter. So I bookmark tweets and tweet threads.

So, I read and I highlight what I think is important and I save them for future use. Sounds good, right?

But, there is one problem. I don’t revisit my highlights. Like never. Reason?

  • All my notes and highlights are siloed.
  • I don’t know what I am looking for as I would’ve forgotten what I had highlighted.
  • The highlights and bookmarks aren’t easily accessible – The kindle highlights are buried somewhere in Kindle and the Bookmarks tab on Twitter is not the best place to categorize and find the information you had saved for later.

But, Readwise changed it all.

After Readwise

Readwise helped me bring highlights from all the apps and devices under one roof. Within a few minutes of signing up, I was able to pull in highlights from my Kindle, iBooks app, Medium, Goodreads, etc.

Also, instead of Bookmarking Tweets, all I do now is add a comment to a tweet saying @readwise save and the tweet/thread gets saved into my Readwise account.

And, that is not the best part.

The best part about Readwise is, it collects those highlights and sends them to me via email at frequent intervals (you can set how frequently you’ll like to see these emails.)

This way I am exposed to my highlights frequently and it triggers a thought process when I come across a sentence from an article or book I read a while back.

Readwise played a key role in helping come up with topics for my Atomic Essays Project.