USA TODAY came to our class one day and asked us to help them. They had been having trouble reaching their target demographic of millennials aged 22-35, and wanted us to design a mobile-first experience to do so.
This audience is used to getting news from places like social media, podcasts, and blogs. To them, the USA TODAY brand seems like just another dry, factual newspaper that does not suit their interests. I worked with a partner to create a mobile-first experience that delivers news in a form that is more relevant to millennials.
When do you generally check the news?
When I get notifications
I have a specific time for it
At what point of the day do you check?
In my free time
Right before sleeping
On the way to a destination
While preparing for the day
While working on something else
What influences you to read an article?
Topic or Headline
After surveying 29 millennials, we found that most of them do not have a set time to sit down and check the news. They lead busy lives and will check at any small, idle moment, such as before bed or while riding a bus.
With such limited time, this demographic will not have the commitment to be fully engaged with the news. Therefore, we chose to focus on redesigning how bookmarking works. Since this action can be done in an instant, make the most of those small moments.
To save an article in the current USA TODAY app, users tap the bookmark icon on each article. Tapping the icon again will unsave it. However, this icon is fairly small and can go unnoticed. The bookmarks page is nearly identical to the home feed. Bookmarking in the app is extremely simple, but USA TODAY misses an opportunity to make bookmarking meaningful.
UI + UX Inspiration
Articles are posted in packages of five a day. This gives users an endpoint. They can complete their reading for the day and move on to other tasks.
Users feel a sense of progress as they check off a task. Once they have completed all their tasks, they are rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment.
Articles are categorized into magazines. Magazines are collections of articles created by users. This organization component is the foundation of the app.
- Bookmarking Articles
- Reading Bookmarks
Users can go through an onboarding process when they open the app for the first time. Here, they can set a goal of how many articles they want to read a day, which article topics will appear in their feed, and how much their feed will focus on local versus national news.
When users bookmark an opened article, they can save their spot by setting a point to start at the next time they open the article. Users can also choose a starting point for others when they share the article.
To prevent the user from forgetting about their bookmarks, the app will remind the user of the daily goal they set during onboarding and reward them for achieving it.
Users can browse through playlists of articles curated by USA TODAY on the playlists page. They can also make their own playlists and add articles from the home feed.
Hover over a hotspot for more details
Users can choose to go through the onboarding process or skip it to start reading.
Swiping up or down will increase or decrease the user's reading goal.
Tapping topics the user is interested will let the app know how to customize their feed.
Tapping either bookmark or share will open the set point mode.
Users drag this up or down the article to set their starting point.
A bar shows how many articles the user has to read before reaching their goal.
After achieving their daily goal, the user gets a congratulations message.
Swiping up or down will move through playlists. Tap to see the articles in the playlist.
Tapping the close button will return the user to look through more playlists.
Dragging articles over a list thumbnail will add it to that list.
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