Social media and newsletters like TheSkimm inspired my
conception of “NewsBite,” which supplies the day’s most interesting news to its
readers in an easily digestible format. The home page’s design resembles the slick
newsfeed of most social media apps.
The home page displays a carefully curated selection of
major headlines for the day. Like most social media apps, the page includes the
opportunity to like, comment, save, or share the headline on other frequently
used apps (the former three options possible if you create an account with
NewsBite, either by email, WhatsApp username, or Facebook username). This
interface replicates the experience of using social media to make the service
appear appealing and trendy to consumers who use apps a lot. Nevertheless, the
interface is also simple for those who aren’t as familiar with apps. In that
way, the app has a low entry level of technological experience. The home page
uses scrolling, so the consumer can easily move down the page to read every
headline. At the very bottom of the home page, the consumer can choose the
option to peruse headlines from other days.
The home page is image-heavy—eye-catching photos accompany
every headline, while well-recognizable symbols represent the section in which
the news falls. Each day, NewsBite highlights one story in these following
sections: Local News, Global News, Politics, Entertainment, Money, Health, Lifestyle,
and Tech. As it publishes only eight articles a day, NewsBite is simultaneously
approachable and informative. It works to appeal to both the technological
savvy in India (typically the 18-25 year olds, both male and female) and those
with less literacy in technology and reading—the former group because it allows
them to consume news quickly, freeing up their time for other activities, and
the latter group because it is easy to use. Clicking on the photo or headline,
the consumer will be redirected to the page for the article.
For my example article, I’ve chosen to touch upon a locally
relevant story: an Indian village that is working to empower women. Every
article is either told in the style of a comic or with illustrations. Either
way, text will be as sparse as possible. The images will be drawn in a simple
style, and color will be used thoughtfully to convey the tone/mood of the
article. The story in this example is a more uplifting story, so the hues used
are lighter and brighter.
To make the service simple and accessible, the consumer can
progress through the article by scrolling down the page.
At the end of the comic, the consumer will find a list of
other recommended articles, similar to the one they had just read. There are
also options to share the article through other services like WhatsApp and
Facebook (the two top services used by Indian consumers, according to market
research). Consumers can also subscribe to receive a “News Bite” every day in
their email or to receive a link to the NewsBite website (as NewsBite can
function outside of the app service) via WhatsApp or SMS every day. In the case
of WhatsApp or SMS texts, the consumer will receive the most interesting
headline of the day from NewsBite and a link that will lead them to the
Certain words in the captions are colored red; these are
potentially complicated words that the consumer might not understand. The
consumer can click on the red word; a dialogue box pops up defining the word in
English and text-speak (i.e.: emojis, hashtags, or abbreviations). This will
ensure that the consumer will understand the topic, while potentially learning
new phrases and terms. Similarly, complicated topics will also be colored red,
and clicking on the words will open a dialogue box that explains the topics.
Through these strategies, the hope is that users will stay
engaged with NewsBite, staying on the app or website longer rather than just
reading one article. Furthermore, this is a means for recognition toward
NewsBite to be propagated across social networks and word-of-mouth.
In general, this design is focused on functionality,
accessibility, and efficiency. Through its simple design, the service can be
easily used and understood by the semi-literature target population, while also
allowing the consumer to digest a breadth of news information efficiently. This
will hopefully give consumers an incentive to use the app as a simple, quick
way to stay informed about various topics. Strategies to increase usage and discovery
are focused on targeted outreach and sharing.
Designs made by in GIMP. Illustrations drawn by hand.
Sources and Inspiration: