Situation

Our client is NRC, one of the biggest newspapers in The Netherlands. NRC has 250.000 subscribers, 500.000 visitors everyday and 100.000 newspapers. NRC has journalism as its priority and can be described as a clear newspaper targeted at readers who want to read the backgrounds behind stories, and focus on facts.

NRC is trying to keep their audience, which has an average age of 57. We as a team chose to target an audience of young professionals in their 20-30’s, to follow up the older audience, and become the new generation of NRC readers. To do this, we designed a refreshed personalized reading experience, in the form of NRC>U.

Researching

To build a product for NRC, I interviewed three different people, with the same backgrounds. The technique I used was a Laddering interview, to discover the true values of the audience. Based on these interviews, I made a persona  and a customer journey.  Also I did research to analyze the competitors of NRC.

During this research I noticed that while NRC claims to be scared of algorithms, they already use this by posting on Facebook, Twitter and even Blendle.  

creative techniques

To transform my and my teams research into workable ideas, I used the Download Your Learnings technique to gather all information in one bundle. This was further expanded upon by doing a mind map with solutions that we could think of, based on our research. These ideas were filtered by a COCD box.

Based on the values of our audience we decided we were building an extension of NRC’s existing mobile app, based on a personalized feed, an explore page and a recap of the news.

 

prototyping and testing

To display my ideas and creating something that would actually work and could be tested, I started drawing wireframes to illustrate the essence of the app. After that I translated it to an Adobe XD prototype, which I could use to test the usability. The usability test constituted of an interview, and a free flowing back and forth with my test subject.

This was one of my very first prototypes, and although it did not age well, it shows the foundations of the way I like to prototype. By learning something quickly, and creating something that is not necessarily beautiful, but works and serves its purpose, and does it well.

NRC>U

The result of this is NRC>u. An app that expands on the worldview of the user, and makes sure that they do not miss anything inside of their world. By designing an app that uses A.I. to know what you like, and give you more of it. Using the same A.I., NRC>U will also recommend articles that are far away from your own bubble.

The key features here are a personalized feed, a recap for ‘general’ news handpicked by NRC themselves and the explore page to broaden your horizon. The main thought here is transparency, as the users are also encouraged to view their own bubble so that they are aware of why they see the articles that they see.