Tracking the news nowadays is not easy. News often contain too much repetition in the articles and too little explanation to understand the issue. Especially in our globalized world, the complexity of the news flow has hit new heights. Additionally, the readers perceive a lack of time to deal with the news topic and feel an information overload. These factors make it difficult for readers to keep up with the news. It is clear that the traditional form of journalism is no longer suitable to explain facts and their context and does not allow catching up with the news.
This is why the NZZ Labs gave us – a group of students from design, management, computer science and journalism – the task to develop a new concept for the future of digital news. The solution should help people to understand and track the news. It should enable the reader to follow a topic and its developments. Moreover, the solution should focus on the digital presentation of the news and take into account user needs and behaviour.
My team consisted of a journalist, a management student, a developer and a fellow designer coming from Mexico, Poland, Switzerland and Germany. First, we did a brainstorming session where everyone contributed with ideas that could solve aspects of the given problem. We analysed the current NZZ website and similar news sites with the purpose to identify weaknesses and coming up with ways to improve them. In the brainstorming session that followed, we voted for the ideas we thought were the strongest.
We transferred our ideas into wireframes and did usability tests with them to prove the effectiveness of our prototype. Our test users were potential NZZ readers in order to get a realistic evaluation. The usability tests gave us many insights and determined our decisions for improving the prototype. In this way, we constantly iterated on our concept and polished our design.
As soon as we could state certain features, also the technical development for the interactive prototype progressed. Finally, we could present a refined interactive prototype of our concept that is backed up by user feedback.
Throughout the whole process, our team also managed to work remotely and handle intercultural collaboration
Our solution allows a new way to read and track the news. It consists in a concept for the current website and a new platform called MyNZZ. The key feature is the horizontal timeline that organises all articles from a specific topic in chronological order. The intention of our timeline is to give the reader an overview of the topic while giving also the possibility for in-depth information. To appeal to different perception channels the bubbles in the timeline indicate which media is available.
Personalization was the core of our concept. Through the platform “MyNZZ”, readers could subscribe to topics that are of interest to them. The filling of the bubble shows them which articles they have already read. This gives the readers an awareness of how much information they got.
To make the context of the article recognizable at a glance, we introduced the “Infoboxes” that come with every article. They contain the Who, Where and When of every news story and show the relation to other topics. This feature gives the readers the basic information to relate to the content and to make faster connections between their previous knowledge and the one they are gaining.
Project Team: Ileana Jimenez, Dorota Kaminska, Florin Gruber, Simon Baer, Sabrina Montimurro