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Story Time No Matter How Far Apart You Are –

In November, I quit my job at LANDesk to begin working full-time on Readeo, a website that let’s families who live in different states (or anywhere, really) build and keep their relationships with children strong by reading together. Tonight I thought I’d share a few of the thoughts behind the product as well as some of the designs that got us to where we are now.

Similar to Coby’s (our CEO) experience above, my brother and sister-in-law lived in Columbus for several years which meant we didn’t really get to see their boys grow up during that period. We saw them on the holidays every year and spent a good chunk of that time just getting re-acquainted.

By the end of the visit, we had great relationships with the boys and we were all sad to be leaving. But when the next visit came (a year or so later), the introduction phase of the relationship was back and they were calling me “Justin,” and I think I remember Whittney being called “Grandma” a time or two : )

The idea behind Readeo is to create a shared interaction that allows friends and family to spend quality time with their [grand]children, and really establish relationships through that interaction, even when they’re physically far apart.

On Readeo, that main interaction takes place within what we call a BookChat. Below is an early sketch of the BookChat screen where families read together with integrated video and digital children’s books (yes, I know my plane looks like it’s crashing…):

Readeo BookChat Sketch

In addition to the BookChat portion of the site, we created Readeo with a narrow social networking component. Really, you’re only connecting to your closest family and friends—but with those people, we offer the ability to share or recommend favorite books, create book shelves, upload profile pictures, etc.

Below is an early but still pretty accurate comp of the various dialogue boxes that allow people on the site to add friends, recommend books, send BookChat invitations, etc.

Readeo Modal Box Dialogues

When you’re logged in to the site, the Profile becomes your homepage—from there you can access all of the other features on the site: Browse the Library, Create a bookshelf, Read a book, BookChat, and more. This is one of the few pages on the site that ended up passing straight through to the final product without many changes.

Readeo Profile Sketch

I’m really happy with where we are right now. We have a ways to go in refining and bringing additional features, and adding books and publishers, but we’ve had great feedback, some good press and some of the best publishers in the business.

If you want to learn more, visit and try it out for yourself. There’s a free 14 day trial, and for a free one-month subscription just use the code “readeolaunch” when you sign up.

Readeo Homepage Comp

I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or questions—and thanks for indulging me!