CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Information Architect & UI Designer

Concept work // ChicagoTribune.com, their online edition, has been a step in the right direction, but hasn’t completely turned the tide against the declining user numbers. Design a solution that is user-centric and could help how their news product is used and perceived.

Started Talking about News

Utilizing everyone-in-the-group’s connections, we all accumulated research by means of interviews at local coffee shops, news stands and schools. We even devised a survey to test and see if the reason people don’t read the news is because they just don’t have time for it.

 

Survey Results:

We wrote down quotes & observations and began to group them as they made sense to us. We actually came up with two different sets of groups. The one on the left is all about reactions to the news. The right example is grouped by how people engage with the news.

 

After wrapping up our competitive analysis, we wanted to take a step back and look at all the research. When we discussed the direct competitors to The Chicago Tribune, we initially thought big news sources (CNN, BBC, etc) as well as local news sources, (Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Defender, etc) but our research helped us understand.

" They’re not just competing with other news sources in 2016, they’re also competing with social media outlets and other news aggregators like google news and apple news."

This was an interesting insight on top of the other observations that further lead us to several thoughts:

1| Social media gives information to everyone in a quick and concise matter — the news should somehow offer this ability.

2| People don’t like negativity or being told how to feel about certain situations. They like the freedom of being able to choose what they read and not having a bias opinion shoved at them.

3| Social media is where people go to share news. People (typically older) share news together via vocal conversation. An aspect of being able to connect and discuss news in the native application (to help increase users as well as get off social media) should be a feature.

Created Research Based Users

With the above information in mind, we created three personas that we felt were key targets for the Chicago Tribune. These allowed us to have a more tangible client to design for; it also helped us stay on track when thinking of features to possibly implement.

With these personas in mind, we created a sort of Behavioral Analysis chart that depicts how and when these users might engage in the news. With these personas, combined with the research observations, we were able to figure out that people need/want convenience in their news. This definitely played a huge part in decided the features of the application.

What's it NOT doing

The current product does not meet lifestyle requirements nor are they a pleasurable experience for the users on a daily basis.

 

The current product does not enhance the social aspects of sharing with peers to allow open discussions and encouraging points of view.

 

The current product does not invoke trust in many local citizens due to the current reputation of conservative views and political corruption.

 

The current product lacks a personal appeal to its user specific needs and tastes.

 

Design Directions

Build a platform to ignite the interests of new readers while enhancing the experience of current readers by inspiring involvement, sharing, and passion from a trusted, transparent and ethical news source.

 

1. A landing page that is conducive to user needs.

2. Bring listening features to the experience.

3. Make sharing articles interesting and productive by pushing users to keep discussions within the native platform.

4. Give users the ability to create groups as they would in a group of friends.

 

So from here, I fleshed out some initial low-fidelity wireframes that we could do some basic user testing on. I did this in Axure to try and get myself very familiar with the program.

Here are some examples:

Final Thoughts

We ended up with an app that met the demand of our Design Direction. However, tackling the direction of creating a “transparent and trustworthy news source” dives more into content strategy. For this, my group and I debated, probably too much, about how the Tribune should have unbiased articles. We tossed around the idea of having people get to know the authors of the articles they were reading by having author profiles. There were many ideas that could have potentially been excellent solves if more time could have been afforded.