About the project

Designing an accessible & engaging reading experience

Monday Morning (MM) is the second largest student media body of India. MM writes about news, articles, comics strips etc. They have an active website via which they serve content, which are written in-house by the team at MM.

In short, Monday Morning is all about informing NIT Rourkela community about what goes inside NITR. Their website is well received by the NITR community which led to the decision of launching an android app. Post the launch the wasn’t well received by the users. 
Since I have worked alongside the MM team in past, the team reached out to work together. Hence, I decided to take up this project and re-design the MM app.

Role
Research
Product Design
User Testing
Team
Abhay Rahul
Timeline
1 Month
Client
Freelance

Research

Heuristic evaluation →
While using the app, I noted there were frictions that I was facing. Following it, I conducted a proper heuristic evaluation of the app. Visual design aside, I was met with a lot of accessibility and navigation challenges.

User testing and interviews →
I interviewed five users for usability testing. I asked them to perform basic operations on the app; tasks like searching for an article, finding bookmarks, sharing an article and navigating within the app. Meanwhile, I recorded the difficulties they were facing while they accessed the various features of the app.

To keep the data unbiased, I chose students from different year groups. I also spoke to the MM team about their constraints and the challenges they faced while designing and developing the app.

the problem

After analyzing the insights from the research I narrowed down the problem into two categories.


User insights →

  • Users found the article reading experience difficult.
  • 4 out of 5 users thought that the navigation confusing.
  • The articles did not motivate the users to click on them.

Business insights →

  • The brand value was not clearly communicated to the users with the current design.
  • The engagement rates did not meet expectations.
  • Developer feedback: The previous version of the app used a lot of gestures and unequivocal design patterns. It made the development process complicated and hard. Developers requested to follow Material Design Guidelines.

Goals

From the research conducted, I narrowed down my focus to four key areas:

  • Reading experience
  • Engagement rate
  • Personalization of the content
  • Accessibility and navigation

Optimizing for these will help solve most of the problems with the app.

Solution

After looking at several news sites, I realized that there were certain universal UX patterns that helped create an engaging reading experience.

I started of by sketching basic paper wireframes for possible solutions. After finding the final solution I converted these wireframes into high fidelity screens.

Major sections of a news app

Login Flow

Asking users their preference to recommend them articles in a more personalized manner.

Onboarding & Login Flow
Onboarding & Login Flow

Home screen

Simplifying the navigation and enhancing the reading experience.


Home screen →
Introduction of consolidated menu and bottom navigation.


Reading experience →
Improved readability, article suggestions, and accessibility features
.

Home & Article Page
Home page & Article page

Community Feature

Reintroducing the community feature in the forefront and and making it accessible.


Forum →
A place for the NITR community to engage with each other. of consolidated menu and bottom navigation.

Buzz →
One stop for all the extra curricular activities

Community Feature
Community feature

Search & Discover

Simplified search and menu navigation

Search →
Allows users to discover new and trending content.

Hamburger menu →
Categorization of features inside the app.

Search & Discover
Search & Discover

Prototype

The app is currently under development and will soon be available to the NITR community.

Business & user impact

The app is currently under development and will soon be available to the NITR community.

Conclusion

Through this redesign, I have solved for above mentioned problem statement. The final prototype was tested with the users, and they were satisfied with the redesigned version of the app.

Learnings

  • Understanding the constraints but not letting them decide the solution is essential. Thinking of all the possible solutions & applying constraints to it.
  • Question everything to have a better understanding and reduce biases.
  • Testing your solution with users is an important step to achieve the best possible solution.
  • Talk to users and business stakeholders. Understand them. Empathize with them but at the same time trust your gut as well. Also, design a solution which is helps all the stakeholders.
FIN. THANK YOU.