I did some research on the news reading industry and the existing state of MSN.com by chatting with the PM & researcher, as well as reading related articles online.
Design a news reading experience which engages young millennials.
In order to engage younger readers, I decided to start with understanding how they read news everyday, including where they go for news, how they read news and when they read news. Due to the short period of time at MSFT and limited research resources, I decided to solve the problem on my own.
I randomly talked to young people that I met on MSFT campus during lunch time, and interviewed my friends who read news frequently. When I chatted with them, I focused on understanding their motivations, behaviors, as well as what kind of news which sparks their interets most and why.
Millennials read in their downtimes, everyday. e.g. 10 mins break, waiting for a meeting, commuting, etc.
Most people skim over the first few lines to get the point of the story, browse the images, and then leave.
Most people go to multiple news websites to get the full story.
They are very likely to loss the situational awareness and the context of what they are doing, after reading news.
Design a news reading experience which requires less contextual awareness and provides a complete view of story for quick consumption.
Comprehensiveness and efficiency
Aggregate and organize news in a way which caters for the quick and comprehensive news consumption.
Display news in a way which doesn’t require readers to lose the context of what they are doing.
Instead of a traditional web/native app, I mainly focused on how to take advantages of OS integration, changing the news reading from a complex task to a daily behavior, as easy as checking out time, weather and calendar on your computer.
I printed out all the possible places in Windows Shell, and did a peer review session to decide which one is the most appropriate and reasonable place. I finally selected the side panel (as shown below) which could be called out by a news button on the taskbar, because it is aligned with user’s perception of “a short layover station”.
I collected news feeds from various sources and conceptualized them into different news components. After that, I send out surveys asking people to rate each of the components based on the extent of attention.
Mobile is another platform where millennials spend most of the downtimes with.
Personalized news feed
Provide news based on different scenarios, e.g. location-based news, time-based news, event-based news.