Redesigning One of America’s Most Popular News Sites

This is the story behind Fi's re-imagination of news consumption on the web

Background

Newspaper readership is in decline. In fact, print media in general is gasping for air, in a desperate search for the path back toward relevancy in our increasingly digital world. It’s not that our appetites for news and information have faded; they certainly have not. The core challenge for publishers is to somehow evolve along with the preferences of their audience. This evolution has been from paper to pixels, and it shows no signs of slowing. In fact, a Pew Center Research 2012 news consumption survey shows that fully 39% of Americans polled prefer to receive their news digitally vs. more traditional offline sources. From fourth place in 2008, digital news consumption is now second only to televised news programming.

Very simply, this phase is all about defining the market, the needs, and the opportunities. What are the core mechanics and drivers of the business? What are the existing pain points for news consumers? How can we better serve the needs of journalists and contributors and help them reach the widest possible audience? How can we offer a superior ad experience for both advertisers and audience? Informed by the previous phase, now it’s time to define our approach toward relieving pain points, serving needs, and delivering on identified opportunities. Beyond that, how do we do this in a way that is truly unique and groundbreaking? Herein we map user flows and journeys ad infinitum. Continuing to modify and iterate until we reach a state where every rendition of the end experience is sensible, efficient, and delivers on the charted objectives from prior phases. With every critical component of the foundation clearly documented, now we do what we do best: design. Organically iterating, in a continuous feedback loop with the team at USA Today, we began to conceptualize the framework for an experience built on said foundation, and rapidly come away with a clear vision for the end result. Approach Like the music and broadcast industries before it, business-as-usual for print publishing has been forever disrupted by the digital medium. The grand takeaway from this project, for Fi, was that no matter how much content you have to offer, no matter how disparate less is most definitely more in terms of presentation. Today’s savvy readers/consumers no longer simply skim above-the-fold and move on. Instead, they come with a specific purpose, a mission if you will, and our job is to offer an experience designed to help them fulfill those missions on a regular basis, in the most efficient way possible. Similarly, for the publishers and advertisers, we meet their end objectives by providing an innately shareable experience that lends itself to the broadest organic reach available. In sum, the new usatoday.com delivers a news site that serves the core business needs of those involved in the production and delivery of the content, while catering specifically to the needs and objectives of its rapidly expanding digitally-native audience. If we make it easy to consume and share content in a way that’s natural and familiar to the reader, we provide a winning proposition for all involved. Takeaway

CASE STUDY

The new USAToday.com

 

This is the story behind the re-imagination of news consumption on the web. In short, newspaper readership is in decline, yet our appetites for news and information have spiked. Like the music and broadcast industries before it, business-as-usual for print 

publishing was forever disrupted by the digital medium. Gannett Company, Inc. and USA Today face a core challenge: To evolve along with the preferences of their audience. The web needed to be a huge part of any solution to that challenge, and this is that story. 

Project 3 - ScreenshotProject 3 - Screenshot