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The New York Times

A mobile app re-design to increase young reader engagement

Timeline: 5 weeks
Role: Design research, UX, visual design
Collaborators: Margarita Yong, Angie Ngoc Tran
Advisors: Renda Morton, The New York Times

 


Challenge

Increase engagement and retention of users of the NYTimes mobile application.

Outcome

A new digital experience that optimizes young readers' engagement with news and lifestyle content.

Launch digital prototype here.


 

Research Insights

Based on existing user research, the team interviewed users in four topics. 
 

How they perceive the New York Times:

Most young readers see the New York Times as a hard news source. Despite the publication's lighter, human-interest or lifestyle content offerings, the users expected to see primarily political, economic, science or breaking news stories. Readers also felt that the NYT had more in-depth reporting compared to other publications. 

Current news consumption behaviors:

In general, readers choose speed over credibility, wanting to stay on top of the news at all times. They don't mind seeing lighter and heavier content side-by-side—as long as the information is enriching their lives. For non-news readers, research shows that they primarily look for guidance and inspiration.

Current behavior in the NYT app:

Our team discovered that users prefer real-time, trending news at the top of their feed, and didn't associate the NYT with lifestyle content. They use the home view to browse headlines without paying much attention to the excerpts or images. They only click on articles that they find interesting. Non-subscribers simply read headlines and Google articles later to avoid hitting the paywall.

Pain points using the NYT app:

The home page was one long feed of "top stories," lacking organization or context. Readers were not attracted to the article images, even though they identified as visual people. They were also overwhelmed by lengthy content and needed visual cues to learn how long an article will take to read.

 

Design Process

Using quick paper prototyping, we tested our initial assumptions and ideas with users. We went through two iterations before presenting our final solution to the NYT Digital Product Team.

 Initial sketches

Initial sketches

 Paper prototyping with users

Paper prototyping with users

 
 

 

Core Features

 

Trending Stories:  Quick, curated photo and video stories based on trending topics

 
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Home View: A new UI that clearly defines sections to engage users with different stories. Prioritizes trending, top stories and breaking news. Reading time for articles now available. 

Tab Bar: Replace the hamburger menu with a bottom tab bar for easier navigation.

 
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For You: Customized news feed for users to browse lighter, more varied content. The ability to like and dislike stories adjusts each users' news feed algorithm accordingly.

 
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