Heather Prime
UX Designer & Researcher
SF chronicle thumbnail.png

Product design, SF Chronicle

PROJECT SUMMARY

DESCRIPTION

The San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving the San Francisco Bay Area. The SF Chronicle was the most popular newspaper on the West Coast by 1880.

Like many newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle experienced a large drop in readership in the 21st Century.

CHALLENGE

Increase the readership of the San Francisco Chronicle and making the San Francisco Chronicle relevant once again through design.

SOLUTION

A mobile application for the San Francisco Chronicle that provides customized and summarized content in a delightful, simple interface. 


STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEWS

STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEWS

Participants = 10

I interviewed 10 stakeholders, age 20- 70, to get their feedback on the current SF Chronicle and learn about their news consumption habits.

SURVEY

I prepared and distributed a survey to 37 participants to collect data on where users are consuming the news, current view of SF Chronicle, how they share and paywalls.

INSIGHTS

“I have so many different apps for the news…food…events it’s exhausting”

People don’t have one place to go for all their news needs, they pick and choose depending on the need.  

“I can get all the news I need for free”

Users are unwilling to pay for content they can get elsewhere, regardless of source or quality.

“I appreciate the tool over the quality of news”

DEFINING STRATEGIC DIRECTION

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Based on insights gathered from user research and met with business goals, I defined three main needs and behaviors:

1. Hyper relevant, local content

2. Customization

3. Summarized news

INSIGHTS

1. Service only the Bay Area in local categories like sports, neighborhood news, recreation, eats, debates, etc.

2. Be the content creator and summarizer. Few sources have the position of providing authentic content in a conscise way for the busy, tech savvy user.

3. Allow precise content category customization

SOLUTION

In the vast space of news apps, site, social media users don’t have the time, energy or inclination to find the content they need.  Currently, there is no source for relevant, customized, bite-sized San Francisco Bay Area news.


DEFINING PERSONAS

We developed two different personas based on our interviews and industry research

  • tech savvy millennial (primary persona)- largest target, already using news apps, 
  • Casual consumer (SF resident)

We used an empathy map to better understand our users and develop a more intensive profile. 


DEVELOPING THE INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

FEATURE PRIORITIZATION

Through mapping out which features were necessary, nice to have, and most impactful, I sifted out the MVP.

SITE MAP

Users can scroll down to their favorite topic, then swipe left to see more articles under the same topic. The user can share directly through the article.


IDEATION & ITERATION

SKETCHES

PRIMARY USABILITY OBSERVATIONS

I began sketching based on the sitemap and our design direction. I wanted to try a navigation that scrolled both up and down and right to left to view more relevant content. 

Users found the gesture based interface very intutive from the start. However, they wanted to know more about the interactions they could make on each article snapshot.

Additionally, I realized a quick onboarding would be an effective way to set the stage for the app and ease adoption.


SECOND ITERATION

USER TESTING LEARNINGS

1. I needed to clarify what it means to swipe swideways vs down

2. Increase size of typeface and images to fill entire screen

3. Test different names to show the differentiating factor of the app

4. Calls to action need to be clearer


THE SF BRIEF SOLUTION

The “SF Brief” Is a news application run by the San Francisco Chronicle. It provides users the power to handpick the topics they see on their daily feed, and a brief summary of each article. Readers who want to know more are driven to read the full article on the San Francisco Chronicle’s site. 

The business goals of increasing readership and relevancy are met by providing a unique, fun, relevant news solution and still driving readers to the SF Chronicle.