BBC News Bites
The BBC set out a brief to create new experiences around news consumption. The purpose of the brief was to explore new ways to engage 16-24-year-olds with the wealth of content on the BBC News site and encourage content exploration.
Project collaborators: Tanay Kapoor, Kexin Li, Sam Naylor, Ting-Chih Wang
The user research phase began by running a survey in order to identify attitudes towards news which could help define questions for semi-structured interviews. This also contributed to the user personas we identified: the frequent user wanted relevant news items, and the occasional user who would be interested in news in order to join in on conversations with friends.
Next we began speaking to people (semi-structured interviews) and using cognitive walk-throughs and think-aloud studies to better understand how they consume news. We wanted to better understand why users were engaged or disengaged with news from the BBC, and what the experience was lacking.
Understanding the context of use
We wanted to understand where people consume news. During the interviews many people consumed news via their movile phones. However some still viewed news on their computers (iPlayer, social networks) and few watched conventional TV.
We were able co classify our users into two distinct groups: frequent and occasional users. Both groups have their own distinct requirements for the content, length of the news and media in the news article
In addition, many users felt they had to leave the BBC News site or app to search for background information in order to understand its context.
Through creative thinking techniques we explored a range of ideas around news consumption, gamification and innovative ways to consume news in various locations, keeping our target audience in mind.
We explored interactions from other apps such as Snapchat or Facebook paper and prototyped concepts based on design patterns used in those apps. What we liked about Facebook paper was visual overview of items in the newsfeed and the preview of the content before loading it. The videos below were interactions based on the paper app.
However, unlike Facebook Paper, we wanted to ensure that if content spans across multiple pages then the user can set the maximum length or the preferred media used within the concept.
Once we narrowed our ideas down, we began making paper prototypes and storyboards to help test them with users. Using this feedback we narrowed down our ideas and further developed a few concepts.
The cards design pattern has been used across multiple applications and is becoming a standard for news consumption on social media applications such as Twitter of Facebook. Unlike Facebook, where the cards can vary in length, we have taken inspiration from Twitter which has standardised cards for various forms of media.
During our research it became evident that many people wanted to know why certain news stories were relevant. Many used to search for background information or visit Wikipedia. A news timeline based o the main topic of the article aims to solve this problem. This prototype explores how that timeline could be presented visually.
Our concept makes use of the content available through the BBC ecosystem, but in an app which focuses on three features: variability of depth, news timelines and info cards.
Provide opportunities for users to taylor the content to satisfy their individual interests.
Variable depth of news
Gives users the ability to select in how much depth they want to read news articles
Provides users with a visual search option which allows them to understand the socio-historical context of a news article.
Allows users to look up information within the BBC environment.
The concept was presentation to BBC R&D in the form of a poster presentation with a video.