The process of creating a News app today Part 2
When testing and iterating on the features we built, we got to the next level of our concept these are the features explained.
With the search function we allow users to search words, topics, categories and follows. The list will stay in search mode until the user press the cross in the search field. (any suggestions on how the search if functioned?)
The search will help the user spell out words when typing.
The search will save searches.
The users who are logged in will get a daily digest built on what they’ve liked, followed and what’s important for expressen. If the user does not like or follow, the most discussed will appear instead.
The user chooses between Morning (6 AM), Lunch (12) and Evening (8 PM)
The users can switch of the daily digest in settings.
The users can select preferred time a day they would like to get the digest. They will get a notification on that specific time and by entering the notification they’ll be welcome by a list of 5 articles summarised and ready to read.
By clicking on of the topics in the list they’ll start digesting the news we’ve provided. Swiping left will get them to the next article. There is an indicator which shows the user how many news been read. If the user choose to not read some of the news in the daily digest, the news will stay in the list while the read ones will be archived.
The user can choose to ignore the digest by tapping done, the news will then be archived and marked as unread.
With the follow function the users can easily follow a story they would like to keep an extra eye on. The stories that are followed get starred which is displayed on the news card in the feed, this makes it easy to sort out which story the user is following.
When entering full article mode the user will see previous stories connected to the one they’re in.
The followed stories will be stored within Archive in the bottom of the list.
The archive will take care of all the read and unread articles(the ones which the user missed out on) and sort them by days. The user will get an overview of the past six days and an indicator that shows how many that is still unread.
Inside each day the articles are sorted by “Most discussed”, “Most read” and “All news” which is basically all news sorted by time - morning news first and ends with the last news of the day.
The archive also includes further navigation if the user find the need to dig even further back. This is labeled as “History”.
Tagging the story helps the users who are interested in that topic discover and read the story. When users Search for one of the tags used in a story, it’ll appear in the feed along with other stories tagged with the same word.
This enables the users to always be free to look and discover themselves for things that interest them.
Estimated time to read an article
The users get the opportunity to time their reading pace. The purpose of this is to estimate the personal reading time for each article provided in the application. This is something that has never been featured this way before. We discovered during user testing, that estimated reading time is very important for the users to get a quick overview and understand the volume of the article.
This data could easily be used for other features such as sort by time, summarise by time etc.
For example, the user has 10 minutes, he or she wants to read the 5 latest news, the service will summarise and provide the user with content that is put together for a 10 minute read.
Personal Profile Settings
The head icon is the personal profile. In this feature the user can change settings such as text only, night mode, article per time in feed, how much time they have each time they use the app and daily digest. (needs to be edited
Overall insights - User Testing and Research
To meet the expectations of our client we’ve made a service that is a news app that combines the ambition of expressen as a brand, and the target audience, 20-29 yrs.
To do this, we’ve made a lot of research in which we found that our TA is most active with reading news mornings and evenings, usually 5-10 articles but often briefly skim through to get the general sense of what the news is about. Not that often during lunch time (11-14) but it is still a time when news are read mainly read.
Articles that are longer than two iPhone-screens to swipe will annoy the reader, but when entering an article thinking its the full story - and the article is two sentences - gives the reader a sense of sheepishness.
I want it all, but keep it short
The users have a need for summaries and a easy way to get the “right” news. Usually reading on smartphone the users don't have the patience for a lot of disconnected content and advertising. If there would be advertising, it should always be honest, stating “This is an advertisement”, and should not interfere too much with the rest of the interface. Unexpected pop-ups is a big no-no.
Relevance is important
There is an overall need for “relevant” news. To expressen that is the latest and the ones having most impact on the society or something with a great entertaining rate. For the users that is not exactly the same, they want to get news filtered by interests. But sometimes, they just want to look around searching for nothing.
How might we provide the user this kind of experience?
By listening to the users, and what they find relevant and collecting the data from how they behave in the application, we made an algoritm that combines expressens highly rated news with what the users spend most time on.
By giving them a change to sort and filter by tags, we can see what they are looking for, and by following, we can see what’s most interesting in long term.
This all comes down to their daily digest. Giving them a quick access to the most relevant news. When done, simply continue exploring the news.
10 at a time
In order to make the experience even more comprehensive, we’ve created a function that will give the user 10 article at a time.
The ones they’ve read or just swipes away - “cleaning their newsroom”, 10 more pops up.
The simple feeling of “I’ve completed something” creates a really interesting and fun culture within the application. The relationship between the user and their news is more honest and they have total control over what is going on.
The archive is there to support the users when they make rapid decisions. Swiping away a story that later will be interesting would be fatal for the experience if the user could not find it anywhere. By switching to archive, the user gets an overview over the last week, how much has she or he been missing out on and the possibility to go through day by day.
During interviews and research we have come to the conclusion that users check in their news app, check out what’s up and then they continue with their lives. One pain point that was a major topic in most of the interviews was how news is a constant flow of unimportant information attacks, the filter function in most services today is used to take away categories they are not interested in. The ones we met over and over again was: Politics, entertainment (diets, celebrities etcetera), sports, economy, local and global.
Some even stated that filtering away certain categories made them unsure if they would miss out on the breaking news.
Listening and collecting these insights and pain points, we had a workshop trying to figure out what could be the perfect solution to solve these problems. That’s when the algorithm that collects data came up.
The idea is that we extract data from how much time the users spend on different articles, what they search for, follow or sort away in the filter feature. Taking these and combine them with what expressen choose as “breaking news” will provide the users with a newsfeed that is optimised for a personal experience.