How Bloomberg Media is testing emerging technologies that affect news consumption
Karen Johnson, head of design research at Bloomberg Media, writes about how the company is testing how emerging technologies could improve the news experience for consumers.
Johnson writes, “It might seem obvious — design news services with people’s real needs in mind — but a day-in-the-life of a typical news user would point to a very different reality. Take for example, Catherine, 36, a book editor and self-described “news junkie” who shudders at the thought of filling her inbox with yet another newsletter. Or Briana, 28, a Brooklyn-based tech coordinator who turned off her news alerts after receiving a notification about Wimbledon (she couldn’t care less about tennis). Mined from more than 75 hours of user studies, these seemingly small day-in-the-life vignettes have been like gold to our team. They tell us valuable stories about the frictions people face in staying updated on what’s happening in the world. And, unlike quantitative data, which tells us how people behave when engaging with our products, qualitative stories reveal to us why people take certain actions.
“One set of ‘why’ insights particularly meaningful to our team has come to us thanks to a question that we ask of nearly everyone we interview: Why do you follow the news? In asking this we’ve learned that people’s desires to follow the news goes far beyond checking the box of staying informed. News shapes who we are. It helps us contextualize evolving political, economic and social events. It helps us connect to those around us. It’s a vital resource for helping people shape opinions.
“To keep our product ideas centered on these user needs, we’ve developed a set of profiles — News Chasers, News Connectors and Opinion Seekers. This taxonomy distills our insights into a straightforward and (hopefully) memorable set of user-inspired attributes that help focus our research questions around the needs of our audience. And, perhaps more importantly, they’ve directly inspired designs, prototypes and how we test ideas.”
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