Insight

Timeline

Role

Responsibilities

Team

2 months

Feb 2021 - Mar 2021

Product Designer

Branding

Research

Visual Design

Strategy

Individual Project

Overview

Designing a News Experience to Reduce Time Consumption

Insight is a news source tailored specifically for users who want an effective, time saving news experience . Insight gives the user the option to read or listen to their news, summarized into short, bite-sized chunks, known as Insights.

Problem

Keeping up with the News is too Time Consuming

Keeping up with the news is too time consuming. Whether you are a student or work a 9-5 job, modern news sources make it difficult to get caught up in a timely manner. With television, different providers show you what they want to you see and they ramble on and on for hours. Online platforms are the same way, the only difference is that you have to read 30 minute long  articles. The goal of Insight is to provide news in a simple and timely manner. 

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Target User

The 9-5 Workers, Parents, Students...Users with Occupations

Insight was made for individuals who don’t have time to read lengthy articles and television programs. The parents who work a 9 to 5, the college students overwhelmed with course work, or even just those who’d rather listen than read. 

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Desired Business Objective

Growing the User Base and Increasing Active Users

The business objective of this project is to increase the current user base and increase the amount of active users. As a new platform, we want to grow the user base and get as many ACTIVE users as possible. By streamlining the onboarding flow and really emphasizing the Insights feature, the goal is to attract new users who will sign up and consistently use Insight. 

Measuring Success

Measuring User Acquisition and Conversion Rates

If this product was in development and being shipped, I would focus on user acquisition, conversion, and retention in terms of measuring success. For user acquisition, I would record how the user base is growing over time and where they’re coming from, whether that be by friends or a particular social media platform. Considering that this would be a new platform, paying attention to the churn rate would be vital as well. 

Constraints

Working Alone Led to Many Blind Spots

Considering that this was a solo project, working alone was the toughest constraint. I didn’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of and getting feedback was pretty tough. When you’re working alone, it’s easy to get stuck in a particular zone of thinking, such as thinking that the user is as knowledgeable about the product as you, which can have negative effects on the product. In terms of timeline, there wasn’t one and my only other limitations were my imagination and current design skills.

Research

Exploring the Current State of News Platforms

To gain a better understanding of the problem space, I analyzed how other news companies were practicing being time conscious. And it's safe to say… they’re not. At least, not intentionally.  The auditory news market is becoming really popular. Most companies are integrating the feature as a way to make users spend more time consuming news. Take CNN and FOX for example, they only provide  a listening option for their 24/7 radio station. In this format, companies take away the users’ freedom to choose, forcing them to consume the news and perspectives that they provide. 

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Apple News
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CNN
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NYTimes

Design Goals

Make Getting News Simple, Easy, and Straight to the Point

Modern news is overwhelming and overcomplicated. There's too much information being shoved down users throats. Why can't news be straight to the point and why can't users see the news that they want to see? After conducting research on the news industry and analyzing competitors, I decided that Insight will prioritize ease of use and provide a simple news experience. 

Key Features

Solutions to Satisfy User and Business Goals

The solutions that Insight provides to reduce the amount of time spent consuming news includes: Personalized onboarding, Insights, and the ability to explore different perspectives. 

Personalized Onboarding

Every person has different responsiblities and perspectives, and their news should reflect that. Insight gives users the option to choose how much time they would like to spend catching up with the news, the topics that they would like to be informed about, and the company who provides their news. 

Insights...Your Daily News Playlist

Insights are daily news stories based on the users' topics of interest. The Insights are then compiled into a playlist with the length of the users' chosen time limit. Insights can be read, listened to, or both. 

Explore Different Perspectives

One reason modern new is so time consuming is because news platforms bombard users with news that agrees with their agenda. Users should have the ability to see the news that they're interested in and widen their horizons when they choose. With the discover feature, users can listen or read Insights outside of their chosen topics of interest. 

Initial Designs

The Initial Designs Had Acessibility Issues

In terms of initial deisigns, I originally wanted Insight to be a dedicated audio platform, but then I thought about people with auditory issues. How would they access the app? Their experience would be terrible, and that would leave an entire user base untapped. From there, I decided to provide both reading and listening options. 

Iteration 1 Designs

Iteration 1 Designs

Impact & Validation

Usability Testing Revealed Weaknesses in the Visual Design

To validate my solution to reduce the time spent consuming news, I conducted usability testing using the platform Maze. This was my first time conducting usability testing, and I made the mistake of making the testing too ambiguous and general in nature. To test the navigation and usability of Insight, testers were instructed to complete missions navigating through different flows. The feedback I received revealed problems with the readability of the text and onboarding interactions. Overall, the text was too small, which caused readability issues. These issues were fixed in the second iteration.

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"The font size could be a bit bigger to make reading easier"

"The create account/join was too small. The bookmark was hard to see. "

"So far it seems pretty straight forward. Though I had a bit of trouble with the Create Account portion..."

"Text seemed a little small in articles "

Iteration 2 Designs

Improving Text Readability and Accessibility

The biggest problem identified by the usability testing was the readibility of the text. The text was too small. To solve this problem, I added a feature that allows users to adjust the text size to their liking. This feature will not only provide a better experience to the average user, but those with vision issues as well. 

Iteration 3 Designs

Prioritizing Saving Time By Improving the Visual Design

The prior designs needed improvement in spacing and alignment, so adjustments were made. There was also too much cluttered text on the home screen. To fix that, I removed information that was not vital to the users' news experience to prevent information overload. I also improved to the iconography to maintain constistentcy, and followed Apple guidelines for the navigation bar and tab bar specifications. 

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Learnings & Challenges

My Insights from Designing Insight

Breadth and Depth

After a couple of iterations and getting feedback, I realized that I need to start looking at how I approach problems differently. Throughout the entire project, I continously ran into problems with the visual and interaction design of the product. I had my head in the clouds and lost sight of all practicality and functionality of the product. My thinking was too broad, which led to weak points in the details, such as typography and consistency.

Having a Goal for Usability Testing

The first round of usability testing was very unorganized and ambigous. I had no clear goal for it, and the feedback I recieved reflected that. The feedback ranged from visual design issues to trouble with the navigation. While I recieved very helpful feedback, the final product would be much better if I had chosen a specific area of focus.

Planning for the Future

Implementing a Subscription Based Business Model

Once the amount of active users increases, I'd like to introduce a premium version of Insight. Introducing Insight Platinum! For $5.99 a month, users can stay up to date with the news without being interrupted by ads. 

Thank You for Viewing.

I love talking and learning from other professionals and design wizards. If you ever need an extra party member, just send me an email or dm!

brandonhollins4@gmail.com