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 looking for a way to improve their online activity, and wants to use A.I. to optimize the reading experience. They want a mix of redaction, personalization and discovering new things. They are well aware of filter bubbles, and values transparency most.

NRC is trying to keep their audience, which has an average age of 57. During the project it became clear to me that the audience should be the new generation of NRC readers, university students, influencers and entrepreneurs. 

Tasks

During this project, I am tasked with emphasizing with the target audience, doing research  and presenting my ideas and informing our client about our progress. During this project, I was also tasked with overhauling research and starting new research on a new target audience.

Actions

Doing research

To compare NRC to fellow newspapers  I did research to see what our competitors are using already. I selected fellow newspapers but also newer threats like Blendle and Facebook to see what they had to offer, and comparing this to what NRC could do.

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. 

Emphasizing with the target audience

Based on our research of the audience, I created an user story to make sure that we do not forget who we are designing for. Together with my team we collected our views and combined them in this map.

By doing this, I learned what the audience wants, and how to communicate this to my team. Making sure that the target audience is always in mind is key in creating user-centered design. 

Prototyping

During our final presentation, we had to show our concept. Our schedule was very tight, so I did not have much time to build a prototyping. I reasearched Rapid Prototyping and made three paper prototypes to accompany our concepts. 

I made a video to explain how our Chatbot would work, using a script that I sent to my teammate. Because the responses were filmed so quick, I could easily show how it would work.

Results

This project is still in progress.

During our meeting with NRC, Janko of NRC gave feedback on our concepts and wether we were on the right path. From the three concepts that we had illustrated, he felt that our Smart Home concept was the most interesting. This concept is about allowing NRC into your home with a personalized news feed, being played to you when you are brushing you teeth, eating breakfast or cleaning the room.

We decided to make this concept into Flunky, an assistent during the day that will summarize news that is interesting to you, with a few random topics to combat the filter bubble. This will also be linked to 9292ov, the dutch public transport app. By seeing gaps in a shedule, Flunky will be able to fill them with news. 

During the project we decided to look at the briefing for a second time, and this time more critical. I organized a debriefing with my team, and we came to the conclusion we should kill our darling. This led to recycling our research, and doing new interviews, with a new target audience.