SkyNews Arabia is one of the region’s most popular Arabic News Channel, viewed by more than 1m users via different media channels, from TV and radio to portal and apps (mobile and tablet).
We were invited to help design their website & apps and to bring them in line with their new business transformation project. The focus was simply to overhaul the way portal & apps were structured, and how the news was consumed by redefining the user experience, providing ‘just in time’ information and content when a user needs it.
We started with a mission to disrupt the way the Arabic users consume news. We looked at the global trend for news, what, where & how an article is read. We also looked at the news in this region, how things were reported and also challenged the average user experience standards for news browsing for Arabic portals. However, it wasn’t all chaos. No features were added for the sake of it, the whole experience was built on a strong foundation of the overall UX strategy.
Our strategy was to:
- Delight customers with an efficient, hassle-free and simple experience
- Making a natural and intuitive tool for news consumption
- Make applications simple and easy to use – internationally benchmarked mobile strategy
- Ensure news can be consumed from mobile and completed on portal or tablets
- Ensure a multi-channel experience where a user would be able to personalise their news feeds regardless of medium
We worked side by side with the SkyNews’s team over the course of four months to ensure both sides understand the users we’re creating the app for. After a few weeks of user research, we gain valuable insights into how the Arabic user reads the news, where and how they do this.
We had set up a few focus groups where we give them some website and app to read, we ask a few questions and to gain more insights into the features that they might use. We posed probing questions to representatives of various demographics.
As our first step, we conducted a series of workshops with all internal stakeholders to understand the insights from the business, data/analytics, current workflow, technology stack and most importantly the pain points identified by the team at SNA.
These workshops also involved brainstorming sessions to discuss ideas and possible impact on the workflow.
Insights & Wireframes
The business strategy for SNA approach was to go ‘Mobile First’, where we begin designing the UX from the mobile screen size and up to tablet and website.
But it does not stop there. We had to understand how this would be coded, how the ‘Mobile First’approach works, we needed to understand that depending to the device some data would be passed to the device and the larger screen can consume more data and stories, knowing that allowed us to create a more engaging experience.
Every aspect of the SNA portal was thought through with this approach. Decisions were made, elements were rejected and worked upon again and again with this approach.
We invited users from different demographics to play on the website and apps, understanding how they interact and how they consumed the new stories.
This helped the team recalculate the layout and flow of the website and apps, we needed to revise our structure a few time to ensure the UX was giving the right experience thought.
We conducted the user testing from using wireframes to the actual polished design to assure the design matched what users needed and to help the business understand their users more, this would help editors and newscasters to write stories with the user in mind.
We ran over 40 task tests to assess the future impact on user satisfaction. We measured the performance of the new design over key areas:
- Discovery (users can find they are looking for)
- User Engagement (users can read and share stories)
- Satisfaction (how happy users are using the app)
In our experience when re-vamping a website/app, users typically experience a time of adjustment to be able to find the things in their new place.
Having maintained a very high level of task discovery, in spite of a completely new design, which normally would lead to a drop in discovery (adjustment period). We found that user found the new design more intuitive and easy to consume more stories.
Completion: no more friction
After the redesigned website/app was tested, we noticed users were no longer getting lost while trying to read stories and trying to find more related articles. During our testing sessions, no user gave up on looking for related articles, while it had been the case in some instances before.
Satisfaction: no more frustration
We were able to see a marked increase in the number of stories and articles users consumed as well as sharing of the articles. Furthermore, we were also pleased with the number of users who registered and begin to personalise the website and apps.
The objective of the project was to aid users to consume articles, engage users to add their comments and share the article with friends and family. We can say that this was achieved within 2 months of the launch.
SkyNews Arabia is now the most read, shared and comment on in the region, with more than 1m registered users, who are now more engaged with news than ever before.