Quotes

Quote management and inspiration app for large-scale scholarly writing projects.

Motivation

In large-scale scholarly writing, it is pain­ful to memor­ize and insert hun­dreds of quotes at the right place—a pain I also experience.

Existing Services

Current reference management tools are either light­weight but bare or complex but dumb. Few are designed based on quotation.

Too Lightweight

Too Complex

Research

8 interviews

A professor and seven grad students

2 user tests

1 month at school; prioritized mobile app

Research Insights

Insight

The Nature of Quoting

Scholars quote to:

1

Back up claim and speak to authority.

2

Show awareness of field scholarship.

3

Prepare material for argumentation.

Quotes can be:

1

Inserted after argument for support.

2

Planned anchors to elaborate around.

3

Triggers to recall thoughts in the past.

Insight

Writing Process

Chaotic;
Greatly varies by writer;
Never linear;
Outcome unpredictable.

Insight

Reading & Gathering

Scholars read everywhere—at the desk, while walking, on buses and even in a football field.

Despite PDFs’ special importance, many preferred paper books for its physicality, though also complaining about the clumsiness of having to sort and organize notes afterwards.

Many judge their highlights on the spot, if not right after: “am I using this or not?”

Insight

Spatial Cues

Because paper is physical, the book object is a profoundly important memory trigger. Ink marks are not just comments; they are also spatial cues for future selves to recall past thoughts.

In this light, paper is more efficient than electronic documents. One scholar has even been taking pictures of his surroundings to add another layer of spatial cues.

Mac + iOS App

Design Space

Mobile: quote collecting and annotation, preliminary matching of source text info (ISBN or Library of Congress Call Number).

Desktop: quote library, deep edit source text info, tags, tag visualization, export selected quotes to document.

Framer Prototype

i

I am Peiran Tan, a senior of visual communication design at the University of Washington. I am open for freelance and looking for a full-time job.

I believe good design brings relief, utility, and, if possible, beauty, into ordinary people’s lives.

Contact

Resume
Email

Typeface

My special thanks to Forma’s designer, David Jonathan Ross, who generously lets me use his typeface on a student license.