THE NEW YORK TIMES
Delivering a More Personalized News Experience.
After remarkably navigating the news industry shift from print to digital, The New York Times (NYT) boasts 64% more digital subscribers now than at the peak of print. They’re confident in their journalistic strength and believe that people around the world are willing to pay for expert, on-the-ground reporting. They knew they could do more to meet their reader’s needs through their mobile app and approached us to identify opportunities to create more value for their users.
Getting to know their readers, we learned that they feel the Times is too politically focused and their coverage too dense. The current app delivers a one-size-fits-all newsfeed, offering users little control in seeing the news they’re interested in. Our approach was to acknowledge their global reader base as unique individuals with different interests, journeys, schedules, and reading habits. We wanted to give readers a sense of control and vested interest in the experience.
Our redesign improves the visibility of the Times' diverse topics, allows users to tailor their feed, adjust the content to match to their reading habits, and offers a more intuitive method of wading through the app – areas that readers previously found they had no control over. Moving forward, readers around the world can uniquely engage with the New York Times content that matters to them most. We hope that by connecting readers with the content they’re interested in that they will invest more time in the app and in turn be more likely to subscribe and retain their subscriptions.
Research · UX · UI
Research, Data Synthesis, Strategy, Wireframing, UI Design, Prototyping
Amsha Kalra, Kinjal Shah, Yue Yuan, Azucena Romá
The New York Times (NYT)
Renda Morton, VP of Design, New York Times
Helping readers around the world to uniquely engage with The New York Times content that matters to them most.
Working with our class advisor Renda Morton, The New York Times VP of Design, my team worked on this project over the course of four weeks using a highly iterative process. We started with user interviews, desk research, and synthesizing data that led to our understanding reader’s pain-points. We used what we heard to identify key opportunities to improve their experience. I took the lead on strategy, wireframing, UI design, prototyping, and presentation design. At the end of the course, we presented our solution to a team of 20 designers and researchers at the New York Times headquarters. Following our visit with the New York Time’s team, I revisited the project to incorporate their feedback into the solution presented here.
From One-Size-Fits All to Personalized
What I found most interesting about this problem, is that the Times’ app delivered readers a one-size fits all front page – a holdover from the days of print. I felt that they were missing an opportunity to leverage technology that could acknowledge readers as unique individuals and give them control and vested interest in their news experience.
On-Boarding & Active Personalization
We knew we needed to increase awareness of the Times’ non-political content. Adding an on-boarding feature, we’re able to educate users on their wider array of topics up front and let readers personalize their home feed. The redesign also continues to learn about reader’s habits through usage and offers to improve their feed based on topics they frequent.
After speaking with readers, we learned that they felt Times’ was “too New York centric.” They often read the Time’s in addition to their local paper. We wanted to recognize the Times’ diverse global audience and provide a more well-rounded way for them to stay-up-to-date by using location settings to reflect local content in their feed.
We learned that reading habits and schedules vary wildly between users. To meet reader’s needs, we focused on features that would allow each user to adapt the way their content is delivered. So if you’re a headline scanner, snippet reader, in-depth digester, a night-time reader, a visual person, or multi-tasker that prefers listening to your news – We got you.
We created a way for users to reorganize the amount of content in their feed through three different density modes: classic, cosy, and compact.
Many users are multi-taskers and enjoy listening to news during commutes, taking this into account we’ve also added audio narrative to each article.
Learning that many users were consuming larger amounts of dense content in the bed at night, we added an alternate dark mode that creates less strain on the eyes.
Everything on Demand
Readers value curated content on their feed, however they still want to easily browse stories about different topics, access bookmarked content, and search for articles as needed. We learned that the existing Times’ app put the feed front and center, but hid all of its other options within a hamburger menu that users found difficult to locate and navigate.
To help users access content rapidly we added a bottom tab bar to make their options visible and easily navigable at all times. We added clearly labelled tabs and icons for home, topic categories, bookmarks, and settings as well as search bar option on top so that users can find content they are looking for.
Want to hear more about our process?
For more information from research to insights, wireframes, user testing, UI, to final solution, etc. — Get in touch