2016 - The Irish Times Mobile Experience [UX/Product Research]

The Challenge

  • We needed to understand how users consume news on mobile compared to desktop.
  • We had to work within the constraints of our editors workflow, but also needed to but greater. focus speed and user experience of the mobile website
  • Focus on speed and greater user experience.
  • We had a quick turn around for user testing.

My Role

My role in this project was to co-ordinate user research, facilitate workshops and run user testing sessions at various stages of this six month project. The key objective of this project was to help to the team to realise what our readers needed from a our mobile news site and how we could answer those needs while meeting business requirements.

Initial Research

I sent out a survey to our research panel to understand how our mobile offering was performing and understand the areas that should be focus on.  What we found out was that while the native apps were performing well, mobile website needed some work. 

We used Net Promoter Scores as a way of measuring how our websites & application are performing over time. Stats removed for this case study.

Workshopping to Spark news ideas

As UX Designer I facilitated workshops to help come up with the new vision for our mobile experience. This session started in the weeks prior to any development work was started. As team week spent 3 Days coming up with hypothesis that we later would evaluate with real users. To begin brainstorming ideas, I ran an Applied User Story Mapping to help the team to come up with ideas quickly and without judgement.

An additional benefit of doing this was it helped align the entire team on what we are hoping to achieve from the workshop and come way with actionable outputs, often what a lot of traditional brainstorming session lacks. 

Applied user story mapping is a great way to align the entire team by collaboratively and quickly come up with a huge amount of ideas in a relatively short period of time. I found this exercise useful because it's structured enough to team an entire team motivation but doesn't require much planning upfront.

Importance of Personas

Personas save time and debunk assumptions about the user.  We didn't use personas for this exercise and it definitely caused to go down the wrong path in the initial stages of mapping out a user's days.  It would have been useful to have user personas to align us in our ideas for creating the story timeline. It also would have sped up the process of grouping activities in the initial phases of the exercise.