InTheKnow

by post_author

InTheKnow is a mobile news app for the semi-literate in India.  The app uses pictures, icons, and a few words to convey news to it’s users.  The homepage is organized with a couple main stories at the top in case a user doesn’t know what to read but wants to make sure they are hearing about the most talked about news stories.  Below the top stories, there are numerous icons and words, where users can easily navigate to news stories about topics of interest to them.  There is a language feature on the bottom of the home screen where users can quickly and easily switch to their language of choice.  There is also a search bar on the bottom of the home page where users can type in specific phrases to quickly find news stories about topics they are interested in.  

Due to the fact that the intended users for InTheKnow are semi-literate from India, the news stories have been designed in a manner that quickly conveys a message through both words and pictures, and also tells the reader why it may matter to them.  For example, under the politics icon, there will be a Government Beat section in which users can quickly see what is happening in politics and what legislation is being passed, and how it could affect them.  Such a section can help alleviate government transparency issues with members of particular communities that may not understand what’s happening in the country, and can help educate them about various issues.  

An example news story is about the Indian Presidential election, scheduled to take place in July 2017.  Semi-literate members of India are likely not well educated on the candidates, the issues, or the effects of different political views.  The following news spread could help these users understand who the main candidates are, what their main political views are, and what implications these stances may have for the user.  From either the headline news or the politics icon on the home screen users can access a page with the top candidates.  From there, they can click on the different candidates to learn more about them.  The Indian state elections are also scheduled to take place in 2017 in seven states.  In the politics section of InTheKnow, users can access a visual of India, and can find more information by clicking on stars over the places where state elections will occur this year.  There will also be “Home” buttons throughout the articles so that users can easily go back to the home pages to read about other news, as well as star ratings and sharing functionality so that they can spread the word and share what is important to them with their friends and family.  

The mix of graphics and limited text is meant to convey news in an easily understandable way for these semi-literate users, so that they can comprehend the information and stay engaged in the content.  By having icons and a search functionality on the home page, users can pick news topics of interest to them.  The key headline news articles also make it easy for those who want to quickly hear about the most talked about news and the key stories that may be of most interest to the general population.  

In order to promote the app and gain users, InTheKnow will partner with phone companies, such as Spice.  It has been shown that many semi-literate users don’t add additional apps to their phones, so by partnering with the phone companies, InTheKnow can ensure that the app comes pre-installed on the phones and thereby the app is more likely to be used than if users had to manually install it themselves.  WhatsApp has become one of the most popular messaging apps in India because it was pre-installed on phones.  Additionally, by creating sharing features through messaging and Facebook, users will be able to share content and invite their friends and family to use the app.  By making the content interesting and easy to understand, and by making sharing easy, users will be more likely to continue to use InTheKnow and tell others about the app.  

References:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world/asia/india

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

http://indianexpress.com/elections/

http://presidentofindia.nic.in/profile-of-the-president.htm

http://www.hasitshah.com/essays-1/2015/12/9/s9ayvb8i2xpk8rg0q0d2yyqjpws6ua

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