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Project Duration

Fall 2019 (2 months)


Sole Designer

My Role

UI/UX Designer

Stela App 2020

Stela, a subscription based comic reading app. Most of the content from the app are original made by in-house writers and artists. In this project of my portfolio, I will show the process of creating a new payment model of Stela App.


The consumption speed of contents in the app is much faster than the content production speed. Eg, an average-length chapter of a comic or graphic novel on Stela app will take 30 days to produce but a reader can finish reading it in about 3 mins. As to technical constraints of comic or graphic novel content development, the content growing speed won’t be able to catch up customers’ fast consumption speed.

The goal is to balance content consumption needs versus production constraints, and maximize business benefits while building great customer experiences.

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"Why and why not subscription?"

The subscription model Stela has right now is purchasing $9.99 every month to get all content in the app. It helps build customers' loyalty, but it speeds up content consumption and  makes it harder to get enough revenue for company.

When it comes to comic in my childhood...

I remember when I was a kid, I was always waiting for a new chapter updating of my favorite comic. Some times I would go to those comic stores to rent the popular one. Why don't we go back to those days?

Then I came up with the following 3 solutions:

Solution A

Subscription for every month;

users can only redeem limited  chapters everyday

Solution B

Subscription for long term pass: 3 months or 1 year

Solution C

Rent individual story, no more subscription

Solution A.png
Solution C.png
Solution B.png


Efficiently slow down the reading speed


Causing user frustration 


Easy to understand

and possibly make more revenue


Losing user loyalty 


Get revenue in short time


Raising the bar of user purchasing 

What We Tested

After team discussion We decided to go with solution A and I completed the whole user flow and wire frame to have tests with out target users.

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brain storming

Usability Testing Results

1. People don't understand

I surprisingly found that the "redeem" concept is too complicated and the progress bar is not clear to convey the idea to reader.


this was a typical user reaction

2. People don't like it

Once customers found they only can read 1 chapter everyday, they become frustrated

How about merging them into one ?

After some brain storming with founder and product manager and low-fi wireframe user test, we decided to combine the subscription model and the rental model.

Users can choose subscribe for 3 month or one year to get all content in the app. They also can choose to rent the books they want. Customers have 30 days to start reading and 72 hours to finish it after start reading.

Final Solution 

Solution F.png

1. Rent a single book or volumes

Customers can choose the comics they are specific interested in to rent. Meanwhile, since some of comics have a lot of chapters. We decided to split them into several volumes.

2. Subscribe for 3 months or 1 year

Users can still choose to buy a 3-month pass or 1-year pass to have access to the unlimited content in Stela app.

3. Customize your library

All the comics could be added to collection, rentals and wishlist. Customers can build their own library to get what they want efficiently.


Based on feature narrative, I began to construct the user experience flow, taking into consideration the following:

1. First time user, renting experience

3. Return user(rented), reading experience

2. First time user, subscribe experience

4. Return subscriber, reading experience

IA map

IA map

wire frame

wire frame


The user interface design system would be based on the last version which is also created by me. However the layout, hierarchy and "call to action" of the series info page needs reconsideration.

the following are the concerns I have for last version of app:

Web 1280 – 1.png

1. Two tabs for series info and chapters 

Merge them into one page would make it flow more direct and simple 

2. Chapters condition

Try to make"read, unread, last read" conditions more clear through different type setting.

3. The position and size of the button

Those 3 buttons are too small and the position are unreasonable

First Proposal

After I presented this proposal, I got the feedback from founder, PM and our target users. From business side, the company would like to have our customers rent more volumes rather than subscribe. From user side, they complained that there were too many buttons on this page and can not get the main description quickly. 
So I decided to simplify layout and change hierarchy.


Second Proposal

In this iteration, although the page is simple and clean. I came across with the problem–how is the "expiration date" showed?

After some discussion and research, I think I was lost in the format of old structure of Stela app. Is it necessary to show all chapters in a list when the comic has so many volumes? How about making a vertical volume list rather than horizontal one?

With those questions and thoughts, I came up with the following decisions:


Final Design

fianl mock.jpg





New user rent flow

new user rent flow.gif

Rented user reading experience

rented user reading experience.gif

New user subscribe flow

new user subscribe flow.gif

New User Gift


As the sole UX/UI designer in this project, I stepped out of my comfort zone by taking on a variety of research, design thinking and product management responsibilities. My job used to be making things look pretty, however,
I found out that
looking good is not enough for a good product.

This end-to-end design experience gave me a good train of thinking the product as a whole and looking into every detailed action in the user flow. Everyday I came across lots of problems and I kept asking, discussing and quickly iterating. I do enjoy this process and feel so proud of the outcome.

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