Client: The Summit
Project: Premium News Subscription Platform
Platforms: Web, Mobile Web, iOS and Android native apps
Role: Senior Product Designer

The Summit news responsive website  and native iOS and  Android app is a collaborative newsroom of reporters, subject editors and data journalists who work together to show how the areas they cover are interconnected. They create the most complete stories by challenging themselves to look through multiple lenses. The topics covered include science, economics, misinformation, the law, politics, technology, identity and global.

CASE STUDY

Project Overview

Client: The Summit
Project: Premium News Subscription Platform
Platforms: Web, Mobile Web, iOS and Android native apps
Role: Senior Product Designer

International Media Investments requested the development of a subscription-based news platform capable of addressing complex global issues in areas such as world news, politics, economics, and science. The platform was to be optimized for a responsive web and native applications on iOS and Android devices, with the goal of providing a comprehensive and engaging user experience that enhances understanding of significant global events.

Project Team

Design Team: Senior Product  Designer (myself), 2 UX Designers
Client Team: Stakeholder, Product Owner, Engineering Lead, Engineering Team
Time Frame:: 6 Months

Context

International Media Investments identified a need for a robust news platform capable of synthesizing and analyzing complex global issues across various sectors. Given the evolving landscape of digital media consumption, the client sought to create a platform that not only addressed the needs of a discerning global audience but also optimized the experience across multiple digital formats, including responsive web and mobile applications.

Problem

The primary challenge was the fragmentation of news sources, which often leads to a scattered understanding of global events. Consumers had to navigate multiple platforms to piece together diverse perspectives on significant issues, resulting in information overload without sufficient depth or connectivity in reporting.

    Objective

    • Develop a comprehensive platform: Create a subscription-based news service that consolidates in-depth analysis of global issues from various disciplines such as politics, economics, and science.
    • Enhance user engagement: Ensure the platform is user-friendly and accessible through both a responsive web interface and mobile applications for iOS and Android devices.
    • Promote deeper understanding: Provide interconnected insights into significant global events, aiming to enhance the audience’s understanding and engagement with complex topics.

    STAGE 1: EMPATHIZE

    Tasks

    • Review Stakeholder Requirements: Analyze the needs and expectations of stakeholders involved in the platform.
    • Industry Education: Acquire insights into journalism by studying news reporting techniques and the structure of the newspaper industry.
    • Stakeholder and Journalist Interviews: Conduct in-depth interviews with stakeholders and journalists to understand their experiences and insights.
    • Journalist Shadowing: Attend and shadow journalists in their daily environments, such as newsrooms and on assignment, to gain practical insights into their workflows and challenges.

    Stakeholder Requirements

    • Content Accuracy and Depth: Ensure the news content is accurate, thoroughly researched, and offers in-depth analysis of complex issues.
    • User Engagement: The platform should be engaging and easy to navigate, encouraging prolonged user interaction and return visits.
    • Scalability: The design should support scaling up content and features without compromising performance.
    • Monetization Strategy: Include clear strategies for monetization, such as subscription models, without detracting from the user experience.
    • Compliance and Ethics: Adhere to ethical journalism standards and comply with relevant laws and regulations.

    Industry Education

    • News Reporting Techniques: Understanding the importance of the inverted pyramid style, which prioritizes the most critical information at the beginning of an article, can help in designing content layouts that cater to quick reader engagement.

    • Editorial Workflow: Insights into how newsrooms prioritize stories and manage workflows during different news cycles can inform the development of content management systems that are robust and adaptable.

    • Roles and Responsibilities: Knowledge of different journalistic roles, from reporters to editors and fact-checkers, can guide the creation of collaborative tools within the platform to support each role effectively.

    • Digital Transition: Learning how traditional newspapers have adapted to digital formats, integrating multimedia elements like video and interactive content, can inspire features that enhance user experience on a digital news platform.

    Interviews

    Completed a total of 8 interviews, 6 Journalists, 2 Stakeholders, utilizing a mix of in-person, video, and phone call formats.

    Key Findings

    Journalists
    • Editorial Freedom: Journalists valued editorial independence and the freedom to pursue stories that may not be mainstream but are significant.
    • Tools for Efficiency: The need for advanced tools that can aid in data journalism and visualization to tell more compelling stories was expressed.
    • Collaboration Opportunities: Journalists showed interest in features that facilitate collaboration across different departments and even with journalists from other organizations.
    • Continuous Learning: There was a desire for ongoing training and development to keep up with the evolving technology and methodologies in journalism.
    Stakeholders
    • Demand for Credibility: Stakeholders emphasized the importance of high-quality, well-researched, and accurate reporting to establish credibility, build trust with the audience, and ensure the platform’s reputation as a reliable news source.
    • Adaptability to Market Trends: Stakeholders highlighted the importance of the platform’s ability to adapt to changing market trends and consumer preferences to remain relevant and competitive in the rapidly evolving news industry.
    • Monetization Flexibility: Stakeholders were interested in exploring various monetization options beyond subscriptions, such as sponsored content or educational partnerships.
    • User Experience: There was a strong focus on user-friendly design and intuitive navigation to keep users engaged and reduce churn.

    Field Study

    Attended and shadowed journalists in their daily environments including newsrooms and on assignment, to gain practical insights into their workflows and challenges.

    Key Findings

    Timely Information Access: It was observed how critical it is for journalists to quickly access reliable information to not only meet tight deadlines but also to update developing stories in real-time, emphasizing the need for efficient information retrieval systems.

    Accuracy Under Pressure: The shadowing highlighted the challenge journalists face in balancing the urgency of deadlines with the necessity of accurate reporting, underscoring the importance of robust fact-checking tools.

    Complexity of Sourcing: Insights were gained into the intricate processes journalists employ to source and verify information, often navigating through unverified reports and multiple sources to ensure the credibility of their stories.

    Adaptation to Fast-Paced Settings: The experience showed how journalists continuously adapt their methods and workflows to keep pace with the rapid turnover of news cycles, which demands flexibility and quick decision-making capabilities.

     STAGE 1: EMPATHIZE – Key Findings Overview

    The team engaged in multiple activities to understand the user and industry context deeply. This included reviewing stakeholder requirements which emphasized credibility, diverse monetization strategies, user-friendly design, and adaptability to market trends. Engaging directly with journalists through interviews and shadowing provided real-world insights into the demands of news reporting, such as the need for quick, accurate information access, and the challenges of sourcing and verifying data in fast-paced environments.

    STAGE 2: CONCEPTUALIZE

    Tasks

    • Develop User Personas
    • Conduct Foundational & Exploratory Research
    • Created Sketches and Wireframes

    User Personas

    We developed three user personas representing potential users of The Summit app, each tailored to reflect distinct information needs and preferences in consuming global news.

    Key Findings

    The key finding from developing the three user personas for The Summit app is that each persona, despite different backgrounds and goals, shares a common need for reliable, in-depth, and accessible news coverage that helps them make informed decisions in their respective fields. This underscores the importance of credibility, comprehensive analysis, and user-friendly design in meeting the diverse needs of the app’s audience.

    Research – Web

    Conducted foundational and exploratory research to gather insights on news websites and current market trends.

    Research – Native apps

    Conducted foundational and exploratory research to gather insights on news apps and current market trends.

    Sketches & Wireframes

    I created initial sketches and developed detailed wireframes to visually outline and refine the user interface

     STAGE 2: CONCEPTUALIZE – Key Findings Overview

    The findings  highlighted a clear demand for news apps that provide personalized, intuitive user experiences and feature-rich content including multimedia and interactivity.

    Market analysis indicates significant growth potential, driven by preferences for real-time news access and subscription-based monetization. There’s also a notable trend towards integrating these apps with social media to enhance user engagement and content dissemination.

    These insights will be crucial in designing The Summit to meet modern users’ expectations and preferences in the digital news landscape.

    STAGE 3: DESIGN

    Tasks

    • Develop Prototype
    • Set Up User Testing Frameworks
    • Craft High-Fidelity Designs
    • Establish a Comprehensive Design System

    Prototype & User Testing

    Developed prototypes and conducted comprehensive user testing with 8 current news subscribers to gather insights about their expectations and requirements.

    Key Findings

    • High User Engagement: The prototype received positive feedback for its engaging layout and interactive features, which enhanced user experience and increased time spent on the app.

    • Effective Content Delivery: Subscribers praised the prototype for its effective presentation and organization of news content, making it easy to navigate and find relevant articles.

    • Visual Design Approval: The aesthetic and visual design of the prototype was well-received, with users appreciating its clean, modern look that facilitated easy reading.

    • Responsive Performance: The prototype demonstrated excellent responsiveness across different devices, a crucial factor for subscribers who access news on the go.

    • Navigation Redesign Needed: Although overall feedback was positive, there was a usability issue with the navigation menu being too complex, which led to slight redesigns to simplify user interactions and improve accessibility.

    PROJECT OUTCOMES

    • As subscribers of The Summit, we value its unique interdisciplinary approach that sets it apart from other news platforms. The comprehensive coverage across politics, economics, and science offers us a deeper understanding of global issues, all through a user-friendly interface. The tailored content feeds and interactive elements like infographics and videos not only engage us more deeply but also enhance our learning and connection with the news.
    • Subscriber Growth: The Summit achieved a 25% increase in subscriber numbers within the first six months after launch, demonstrating strong market entry and appeal to a broad audience seeking comprehensive news analysis.
    • Engagement Rates: Average daily engagement time on the platform increased by 30%, reflecting the high relevance of content and enhanced user satisfaction. This metric indicates that users are finding the articles and features compelling enough to spend more time on the platform.
    • Retention Rates: The Summit maintained a subscriber retention rate of 85% after the initial free trial period, significantly surpassing industry averages. This high retention rate underscores the platform’s ability to meet or exceed subscriber expectations and its success in building loyal viewership.
    • User Feedback: Subscribers rated The Summit an average of 4.5 out of 5 in feedback scores, highlighting their satisfaction with the quality of the content and the functionality of the app. This strong feedback is indicative of the platform’s effectiveness in delivering user-centric news and features.

    KNOWLEDGE GAINED

    • Cross-Disciplinary Integration:  Learned how to incorporate various content types, including interactive elements like videos and infographics, effectively enhancing user engagement.

    • Analytical Skills: Enhanced my ability to analyze user feedback and engagement metrics to iterate on the design, ensuring the platform continuously meets and exceeds user expectations.

    • Content Strategy for News: Learned about strategizing content delivery tailored to the needs of a digital audience, ensuring that news is not only timely but also contextually enriched for better understanding.

    • Understanding Journalistic Needs: Gained insights into the daily challenges and requirements of journalists, which helped in designing features that support their workflows and reporting needs.

    • Responsive Design Techniques: Enhanced my skills in creating designs that work seamlessly across different devices, crucial for users who access news on the go.

    Final Designs

    Home Landing Page

     Sign up & Sign in Landing Page

    Search & Search Results

    Article Detail Landing Page

    Topics Landing Page

    Watch & Watch Details (Video) Landing Page

    Listen & Listen Details (Podcasts) Landing Page

    Journalist Profile Landing Page

    My Interests / Saved Articles / My Account Landing Page

    Events Landing Page

    About Us Landing Page

    Design System – Web

    Design System – iOS

    Design System – Android

    Let's connect.  Feel free to reach out and let's create something amazing together!