Revamping a digital solution for authors to effortlessly produce and distribute audiobooks
Client: Author's Republic
Industry: Digital Publishing¨
Project: Redesign of Website and Studio App

Services: Creative Direction, Project Coordination, Information Architecture, Visual Brand Identity, UX/UI Design, Prototyping
Timeline: June 15, 2021 to August 15, 2021
My Role: Project Coordinator, Creative Director, UX/UI Designer (Self-employed)
Collaborators: Tiffany Smith, junior designer (hired freelancer)

Author's Republic Project Team: Michael Buchok, development manager  /  Darren Speers, COO  /  Taylor Infantino, CMO  /  Melissa Chantaj, Marketing Associate​​​​​​​

About the client: Author's Republic
Author's Republic is a game-changer in the audiobook industry, providing authors, publishers, and rights holders with an entirely independent and open platform that makes audiobook production and distribution a breeze. 
What sets them apart is their commitment to offering the widest distribution network available, currently spanning over 50 distribution channels and constantly expanding to reach more platforms and listeners worldwide. Unlike platforms owned by specific retailers, Author's Republic is truly independent, ensuring limitless potential for your audiobook. The company prides itself on transparency and simplicity, with no hidden fees, allowing you to maximize your earnings. Authors receive an impressive 70% of royalties earned across various major distributors, including Amazon, Audible, Apple, Spotify, and Google. 
The Author's Republic Studio provides an accessible marketplace for audiobook production, making it cost-effective and user-friendly for creators to bring their audiobooks to life and distribute them widely. 
Project Intro
In the world of digital publishing, Author's Republic embarked on a groundbreaking venture by unveiling a pioneering platform with the aim of empowering authors, narrators, and publishers to produce and share audiobooks worldwide. Nevertheless, they encountered hurdles related to user-friendliness and the desire for a more distinctive visual identity. In light of these challenges, I was hired to spearhead the creative rejuvenation of Author's Republic. My mission was to revamp their visual identity, website, and studio app interfaces, all with the overarching objective of delivering a delightful, engaging, and user-friendly experience for their valued users


Low and High-fidelity prototypes
Visual identity system.
Challenges to Address
Enhancing the Visual Identity Foundation:
Author's Republic sought to maintain a visual style that would resonate with their existing brand enthusiasts while infusing it with more vibrancy and warmth. This visual transformation was intended to solidify their status as the foremost brand for audiobook production.
Reducing Complexity for Audiobook Novices:
The original website and user dashboard featured convoluted navigation menus that posed challenges for newcomers to audiobook creation. The new designs were aimed at streamlining the user experience, making it user-friendly for those venturing into audiobook production. The objective was to provide easy access to tutorials and information for those needing assistance.
Coherent User Experience Across Multiple Digital Channels: 
Serving as an alternative studio for audiobook production and distribution, Author's Republic aspired to establish a genuine and friendly connection with indie authors, small publishers, and independent voice actors. This meant ensuring a seamless and welcoming flow between the website, user dashboard, and social media channels, while minimizing barriers and providing the necessary resources to transform a potentially complex DIY process into a painless one.
Tailoring Dashboard Design for Diverse Users: 
Considering the distinctive audiobook creation processes for authors, narrators, distributors, rights holders, and publishers, it was essential to design a dashboard that made audiobook production intuitive and logical for all users. The design aimed to offer an efficient means for users to access relevant statistics while catering to the unique needs of each user category.
Target Audience: Audiobook Community
For those overseeing the audiobook production process, handling everything from creation to sales for various authors and publishers, they require quick customer service, access to a diverse pool of professional voice actors, a wide-reaching distribution network, and a unified platform for streamlined management.
Authors, especially those with limited experience in the realm of audiobooks, seek a user-friendly platform that offers high-quality audio narrated by professionals. Additionally, they require efficient audiobook distribution while keeping costs in check and retaining the ability to set their own Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).
Publishers, responsible for releasing multiple books annually, aspire to venture into audiobook production while bypassing the full array of services typically offered by studios. They already have their distribution systems in place but are in search of a platform that boasts a substantial pool of narrators and consolidates communication related to audiobook projects.
Experienced audiobook narrators, in pursuit of more opportunities, are interested in flexible scheduling options and a secure payment system as they explore their audiobook narration journey.
Research & Ideation
Getting the visual tone just right
To bring the brand to life, we began exploring different ways of balancing wisdom and wit to set a tone that would help audiobook creators feel confident and at ease about using the platform. Simple shapes and a new extended complimentary palette carried throughout the website, socials, and user dashboard interplay with colourful photography to bring an intentionally playful vibe.
Simplifying User Journeys
From the first time an author lands on the website, to the time when a narrator uploads their audio files for payment, to when a producer reviews their YTD sales, every design choice was made with the intention to keep the process for any type of user simple and friendly in mind.
The information architecture of the website and user dashboard were organized and slimmed down so that anyone using the platform could intuitively find what they needed.
Redesign: Website
Turning audiobook creation into a call to adventure
Author’s Republic aimed to make audiobook creation and distribution as easy as possible, but had so much information that a lot of it got buried within the website. We took the important bits that explained the process of creating an audiobook, simplified it, and turned it into a start to finish journey infographic to educate audiobook creators with text and visuals right on the homepage.
Striking the Right Balance: Clean, Simple, and Fun
Our website is designed for user-friendliness, featuring straightforward text and attention-grabbing headlines. Vibrant color shapes not only enhance visual appeal but also make the user experience more captivating. Selling audiobooks should be anything but tedious, it should be a delightful and exciting journey.
Redesign: Studio App
Designing for functionality
Sales data, inventory count, earnings reports, a growing roster of voice actors, links to tutorials, and platform messaging displayed in a visual dashboard relieve any pain around overseeing payments and multiple projects.
Web Styleguide
Details: Designing a natural flow
First-time audiobook creators have many questions; How do I find a voice actor? Where can I sell my book? How much will this cost? And seasoned creators are looking to quickly maximize production. 
Bright buttons, a simple interface, familiar icons, and clean text guide user actions on their journey from website to dashboard home to creating an audiobook — as efficiently as possible.
Author’s Republic needed a new look and better digital experience built on what audiobook authors, publishers, narrators and distributors needed most; an affordable way to easily create and sell audiobooks globally.
Inspired by Author’s Republic’s values of freedom, fairness, and accessibility, we defined a new visual identity with bright colours, playful shapes, and friendly typography. We then paired that with colourful photography and simple icons and threaded it all into a newly designed website and dashboard. With information easier to find on the website, and audiobook creation simplified in the user dashboard with intuitive design, anyone can now create, narrate, and sell an audiobook through Author’s Republic.
Project's Significance:
In the same year that I completed all the redesign projects for Author's Republic, the company was acquired by a billion-dollar corporation. While it remains unclear whether my work directly influenced this development, the timing of these events certainly sparks a sense of accomplishment and pride in the potential impact of my contributions.
"When I worked with Author's Republic, we were looking for a skilled designer to produce a fresh, modern website and web application UI. We hired William on contract and were very pleased with his work. He was very professional, kept us informed on progress and produced several versions of each design for the website, web app, and logo. William operated with a fairly short deadline and exceeded all our expectations. I would highly recommend William to anyone looking for a designer."

- Michael Buchok, Development Manager at Author's Republic
Thanks for immersing yourself in my redesign project. If you have a vision waiting to come to life through design, I'm ready to make it a reality. 
Reach out, and let's bring your ideas to vibrant existence!
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