A platform designed for creators and readers of online serialized fiction.



Online serialized fiction (both fanfiction and original work) has boomed in popularity in recent years, but readers and writers are segmented across many different platforms. SerialRSS aims to improve the serialized fiction landscape by introducing a podcast-like RSS feed model, freeing readers and writers alike from being locked into specific platforms and monetization schemes.

Problem Statement

How can readers and writers of online serialized fiction use RSS feeds to access and share content and remove their overreliance on specific platforms?


  • Ginny Ekvall

  • Trevor Cross


  • Figma

  • Google Docs


3 Weeks

My Responsibilities

I conducted the majority of the UX and UI design for the creator portal and the desktop reader application. I also conducted in-depth research on RSS to ensure the designed applications would be compatible with the technology


The objective of the project was to create a platform around RSS, so that technology needed to be central to how writers and readers engaged with and published content. The platform also had to be recognizable to users, so it needed to share similarities with existing platforms and incorporate certain features, such as integrating existing payment options (e.g. Patron).

Background Research

To understand how to best design a platform for the serialized fiction community, we looked into existing platforms, the complaints and wants of writers and readers, and the uses and limitations of the RSS technology. Our findings are summarized below.

Existing Platforms

  • Serialized fiction writers use specialized platforms, including Wattpad, and Archive of Our Own (AO3), as well as more general-use monetization platforms like Patreon and Substack.

  • Specialized platforms offer beneficial features like the ability to save your place in the mid-chapter and discovery features, which allow readers to find new stories. However, these platforms limit and control how authors can monetize their content. Often, writers must be invited to monetization programs.

  • Platforms like Patreon and Substack offer the inverse. They do not have book-specific features, but they give the writers control over how they monetize their content.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

  • RSS is a web feed format which uses XML files to periodically "post" updates to feeds. RSS is the underlying structure for many blogs and the majority of podcast platforms.

  • For RSS to work, there needs to be a reader application (called a catcher for podcasts) which periodically checks the XML file to update the user's content.

  • If an RSS feed is publicly available, it can be accessed by any RSS reader.

  • RSS could be used to create a writer portal which allows them to publish their works in the RSS XML format and gives them advanced writer features and control over monetization.

  • An RSS reader application could be made which, similar to podcast platforms, shows readers trending and recommended books and other book specific features.

Research Results & Ideation

RSS could be used to create a writer portal which allows them to publish their works in the RSS XML format and gives them advanced writer features and control over monetization.

An RSS reader application could be made which, similar to podcast platforms, shows readers trending and recommended books and other book specific features.

Creator Portal

The serialRSS creator portal offers writers a web-based experience where they can choose to either publish directly through serialRSS or connect their existing RSS feed, Patreon, or other third-party posting location.

From the main dashboard, creators cam see statistics and notifications about their work, and click into one of their books, which are organized by whether or not they are completed.

Clicking into a book allows a creator to see and edit its basic information, see statistics, and see information about the book chapters/sections. They can also change or set the monetization tier for a specific chapter.

When a creator wants to add a new chapter, they will be able to enter the title and text directly into serialRSS or choose another content source to pull from.

Creators may also choose to connect their whole book to an external monetization platform rather than just an individual chapter.

The serialRSS creator portal gives writers advanced control over how they monetize and share their work while also giving them access to many of the fiction-specific tools that existing platforms have.

Reader Desktop Application

The serialRSS reader application is a book-focused RSS reader with specific features which improve the experience of reading fiction using the RSS format.

The application's home page is the “Bookshelf,” where users can see all of the books and authors they are following and recent updates.

Clicking on a specific chapter will pull up and format the XML data from the RSS feed.

If a chapter of a book is monetized, clicking it will prompt the user to log in to access the chapter.

Once a user logs in, they will be able to see the chapter. The reader can read in this format or select reader view for a simplified viewing experience.

The reader view allows readers to customize the font, spacing, layout, and colour palette used for the text. The dark and sepia colour palettes are shown below

Users can also browse for new works through serialRSS. The browser page shows promoted and recently updated or new books. Users can look through different genres, search, or see recommendations.

Clicking on a book shows basic information, a brief description, and descriptive tags. Readers can see the chapters and related books. Readers can preview the chapters or add the book or author to their library by clicking on the follow buttons.

Style Guides

Since serialRSS is comprised of two different applications, it was important to codify the typography and colours that were being used to ensure that the two applications look like they are part of the same platform.

The colour styles describe the how each colour is used.

The typography styles describe which fonts are used for specific types of text throughout serialRSS.


  • Designing a platform which incorporates both an open standard like RSS and monetization options proved to be challenging when considering the constraints of RSS and the needs of writers and readers.

  • Designing a platform which is meant to accommodate very different users (writers and readers) requires a lot of thought about how different experiences and use cases can be designed to work together.

  • It would be great to work directly with writers and readers to better understand how they use existing platforms and the challenges they face.