a new way to tell a story

Author Trust and Delight

UX Design, Strategy, and Implementation for Content Moderation

My role began in 2021 to design ways to keep and maintain trust while engaging with the app. When Kindle Vella was first launched in 2021, it was available as an iOS app supporting only the English language. In January 2022, the service became available to Android and Amazon Fire tablet users via the Amazon Kindle app.

I worked with the product leaders and the design team to consider best practices and ways to design the UI and UX to report issues and for Authors and Amazon Moderators to review and take action against harmful content and actors on their Vella content pages, polls, comments, and more from 2021 - 2023. I also worked to ensure the needs unique to Kindle Vella were included and incorporated into the new content moderation platform I was designing for Amazon Worldwide.

The Challenge

Kindle Vella is designed so Readers interact with Authors. Likewise, Authors can interact with Readers. How can we keep the communication open and empowered?

How might we protect the customer experience from bad actors, from spamming channels with violating content, from hijacking comments, and how might we detect and prevent bots from overrunning discussions and comments?

Overview of Kindle Vella

Serialized storytelling is rapidly growing in popularity. Today’s world is fast-paced and not everyone has time or energy to commit to a whole book, but reading in short bursts on Kindle Vella is fast and easy. Readers who might not look twice at a story published as a full book are willing to spend a handful of Tokens to give it a chance.

a new way to tell a story

Amazon’s Kindle Vella focuses on episodes. Each episode is a 600-5000 word chapter that acts as part of a full story. Readers get access to episodes through an exchange of tokens, with authors receiving 50% of the royalties from Tokens. It’s a new, innovative way for writers to collect royalties. The cost of episodes varies depending on length, with the longest costing 50 Tokens to unlock.

Episodes display as one long page, so there’s no need for page-turning. It’s currently available in the United States and accessible on iOS, Android, Fire, and Desktop, making it ideal for mobile and internet readers.

The platform also offers many features to encourage interactions between the authors and their readers. Some features are available to everyone, while only paying users can access others.

Kindle Vella’s marketplace allows you to search for and sort stories in several different ways. You can narrow things down to categories or genres you enjoy. Revisiting old favorites and checking out what everyone else is reading is easy, too.

a new way to tell a story
a new way to tell a story

Here are the basic ways to search for Vella stories:

  • Top Faved Stories: Stories with the highest number of Faves show up on the Leaderboard. Users who pay for tokens and unlock new episodes weekly have access to the Fave feature. They can give out one Fave per week, and stories collect faves for a month and then reset. That means February’s Top Faved Stories won’t necessarily make it into March’s Top Faved stories unless their audience returns and continues to Fave them.
  • Genre Categories: Searching through the genre categories yields the usual fodder – Fantasy, Thriller, and so on. Once you choose a genre, you can access other sorting and searching options within it. If you’re searching for the most recently updated Romance stories, for instance, that sorting option is available in the genre category.
  • Popular Tags: The Kindle Vella library is partly categorized with tags. Each story has up to seven tags. They essentially create sub-genres for stories, and tags have their own landing pages. Each genre has a collection of its most popular tags, and searching for a tag brings up a page with every story using that tag.
  • Featured Stories: Featured stories come from any of Kindle Vella’s genres and categories. Anyone who publishes on Vella has a chance to be featured, whether they have a thousand thumbs up or only two!
  • Recently Added Stories: This category represents the newest arrivals, regardless of genre.
  • Stories You May Like: In this section, you’ll find stories Kindle Vella recommends based on your previous faves, unlocks, and tag visits.

Kindle Vella Token System

a new way to tell a story

If you want to read an episode on Kindle Vella, you have to unlock it with the platform’s currency: Tokens.

While Amazon’s Vella allows readers to access three stories for free, you’ll have to purchase Tokens to go any further. Purchasing Tokens also grants access to Faves, which can be used to boost stories you love and let authors know you enjoy their work. Readers get one Fave each week as long as they continue unlocking stories.

Readers can interact with stories in the following ways:

from to a year

Meanwhile, authors can interact with readers by leaving an “Author’s Note” at the end of each episode. The Author’s Note allows authors to “share additional thoughts, insights, or let readers know when to expect the next episode.”

Authors can also add polls to their Kindle Vella episodes, so readers can vote on things like which characters are their favorites or what plot event should happen next.

Authors can leave the “Author’s notes” at the end of episodes to share additional thoughts and hint at what will be happening in the future chapter. To further engage with their audience, Authors can hold discussions and live streaming chats with their Readers.

kindle vella screens

The ability to interact with the people reading their stories (and vice versa) is what makes the platform special.

fave feature
reader poll

Kindle Vella prohibits and does not tolerate:

Types of Content Moderation

The Process


The Author notes section gives Authors the opportunity to break the fourth wall and communicate with Readers.

Vella offers authors a new way to reach an audience they might otherwise have missed. And with new readers comes new ways to earn royalties.

Competitive Analysis & Market Research Overview

Vella gives Authors feedback. Apart from Amazon reviews, which can be hard to get in large quantities, authors have had very few ways of gaining feedback from readers. Before now, the best way was to get good beta readers, of which most authors will only have a few. Interacting with Readers can build repoire, but can also be a spot for spam or harm.

a new way to tell a story

Serialized storytelling is rapidly growing in popularity. Today’s world is fast-paced and not everyone has time or energy to commit to a whole book, but reading in short bursts on Kindle Vella is fast and easy. Readers who might not look twice at a story published as a full book are willing to spend a handful of Tokens to give it a chance.

Video Content:


User Flow

to be updated

User Feedback

Amazon Kindle Vella review: Snackable reading in the palm of your hand

key takeaways Sascha Brodsky Senior Tech Reporter July 2021

a new way to tell a story

Visual Design

to be updated

I’m open to new opportunities.

If you're looking to connect, let's grab a coffee and chat!

crosswalk shot across from the sfmoma with painting that reads think outside the building.