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NPR Plus: Process

Project Brief and
Client Summary

The Brief

To find a business opportunity that can be addressed with a value-driven design approach. Solution deadline: 4 weeks.

THE CLIENT

National Public Radio (NPR) is one of America's leading non-partisan multi-media news organisations and radio content providers. They are credited with their fact-checking capabilities along with podcasting.

 

01. The Client's Internal and
External Problems

External Social Problem

The prevalent role that fake news played during the 2016 US election has become an external threat towards the basic principle of journalism: journalistic credibility.

Internal Business Problem

A lack of commitment towards developing their digital offerings has caused them to lag behind their competitors, such as Amazon Audible and Gimlet, in attracting younger audiences. With their median age demographic increasing, a younger audience would eventually determine the longevity of NPR.

 

02.
Addressing the Spread of Fake News

The New York Times conducted and published a case study of how a factually incorrect tweet became viral.

After analyzing the article, we broke down the fake news journey into 4 distinct steps.

1st - the creation of fake news
2nd - the initial engagement
3rd - when politicians + new sources share fake news
4th - exponential engagement

We discovered that the most effective point of intervention to potentially mitigate the spread of fake news is right after the initial engagement.

03. 
Target Audiences and Objectives

Disenfranchised Americans (Extreme Users)

The bigger scope to target are Americans who many feel disenfranchised from news organisations for biased political coverage. As a result, some of which, may feel obligated to share fake news from unreliable sources to back their political ideologies.

Younger Demographic

The rising younger demographic will determine NPR's longevity as a brand. Competitors like Amazon Audible and Gimlet are developing their digital offerings faster than NPR has, causing the company to lag behind in attracting the younger audiences.

 

OBJECTIVES

Attract a younger audience for NPR by transforming overwhelming fact-checked content into valuable information.

Convince the extreme users that NPR is a credible source and to embrace fact-checking.

Create a solution that caters to the needs of both audiences in order to create a more informed culture.

 

04.
Unifying Touchpoints

By unifying NPR’s existing digital offerings into a comprehensive solution, NPR Plus can bring more attention and traffic to existing digital products that do already provide value - such as NPR One’s podcasting curation function.

Reduce in cognitive overhead by streamlining the functions throughout the products, in order to create a more comprehensive experience that does not require the user to download separate applications.

 

05.
User Mapping and Journey Framework

Design Considerations

We took into account each respective audience's possible age, ethnicity, political stance, employment, and education.

Knowing the audiences

We began by creating personas of our target demographics and mapped their possible journey of NPR Plus starting from discovery towards extended and repeated usage.

The outcome

Gained crucial insights as to where would be the ideal moments the solution could provide the best experiences. 

Also identified certain pain points within each respective mapping that provided opportunities to design around. 

 

THE GOAL

We emphasised on reducing cognitive overhead throughout the experience towards a goal to mitigate the spread of fake news by encouraging users to become fact-checkers.

Journey Framework

In order to increase perceived value and create a more engaging experience, we focused on how we could reduce cognitive overhead throughout the journey framework.

 

06. 
Measurement of Success

The feasibility, viability, and desirability of the solution.

User Value

  • In-depth factual understanding of politics
  • Accurate cultural knowledge
  • Opportunity to be truth-bearers within social circles 

Business Value

  • Increase in digital traffic
  • Increase in younger audience
  • Mitigate the threat to the journalistic sector
  • Opportunity to become the premiere fact-checking solution
 

07.
Sketches and Wireframes

 

08.
Interactions and Experience

Redefining Fact Checking

Utilising card-style architecture to give readers bite-sized content that's easy to see and digest.

Redefine the concept of digital fact checking into a more engaging experience in order to increase perceived value for those who are unfamiliar with fact-checking.

 

Navigating with Annotations

Using annotations throughout an article provides an easier way for readers to navigate to the key points.

Highlighting claims from a fake news articles helps reduce cognitive overhead for readers by not having to read through a lengthy article. 

 

We found that people trust analysis from other credible experts, rather than the institution itself. 

By highlighting the claims, and providing an annotated analysis from a variety of credible sources, we aim to further improve the trust and credibility of NPR's content as people are more likely to “trust individual experts than a specific institution”, as stated by the Washington Post.

 

Discovery and Curation

We can connect users to other NPR digital offerings, such as NPR News and NPR One, and other podcast content which is becoming a profitable domain.

Through recommending podcasts we can give users the opportunity to explore relevant content, and gain a more in-depth understanding of related topics. 

 

09.
Implications

Fact-checking politicians to hold them accountable and satisfying public curiosity should not be mutually exclusive.

The concept of fact-checking highlights the very present journalistic sector-wide issue. While this digital product was never built, it explores the relationship between news organisations and its readers along with the potential to encourage the mitigation of fake news in the post-truth era.  

 

10.
Reflections and Insights Gained

I conducted a majority of user and industry-related research, while playing an integral role of translating important data into a new experience.

Through key observations, journey frame-working, and user mapping, I was capable of contributing towards the UX development of our proposal. I conducted extensive user research regarding target audiences and their specific pain points; industry-related research to determine what was feasible versus out-of-scope, and helped transform that data into a new experience.