Malayalam News App
"All new news is old news happening to new people - Malcolm Muggeridge"
As a user experience designer, avid reader and a daily user of News app, I identified a problem that there is no short news app for my regional language, that is Malayalam.
So I researched and found that there are no short news app for most of the regions in India, especially with easy accessibility or usability.
I then defined user goals, created user journey maps, and proposed recommended solutions.
Making Stories Accessible
The habit of newspaper reading is an integral part of Kerala society. The news is increasingly being accessed on smartphones these days. In the news platforms, we spend most of our time searching through different news sources for the sheer motive of getting updated.
This experience can be tedious and prone to lose interest. Leading Malayalam dailies have introduced mobile apps to extend their presence among mobile phone users. But still the process of searching through different news apps and scrolling through the news is time taking & monotonous.
When it comes to our ecosystem we need to understand, be aware & be informative at every time but how do we enhance the reading experience of Malayalam news app.
It is tough and time-consuming to get news from several applications or websites in India, where Unity meets Diversity. Moreover, getting brief and customised news of your interest is considerably more difficult.
People don't have enough time to read all of the news as the times change.
Some people might prefer focus on news that interests them, such as politics, sports, or entertainment, while others would have completely other interests.
There appears to be a dearth of free applications and a demand for something similar in Malayalam that can be customised to our preferences and provides us with the type of experience we seek in a nutshell.
The Competitive Landscape
While examining how other competitors deal with the same challenge, I found out various strengths & weaknesses for each.
I compared the apps based on their usability & accessibility factor.
While these digital news apps seem fun, easy to read and provide positive reinforcement at a glance, they either don't offer easy usability or options for other languages .
Designing for a meaningful experience
How can News apps engage their users in a meaningful way? By tapping into their motivations and celebrating their real needs & wants, I focused on designing from an experience level rather than a product level, as seen below
Based on Sweating UX Details by Stephen Anderson
Understanding different types of users
It’s important to understand the general types of users.
From here, I started interviews with our customers. Taking time to watch them interact with me provided me with physical cues that can affect the research outcomes. To help capture observations, I took detailed notes and even recorded some sessions with users.
For the purposes of the interview, I researched on the habits of young people. Hence
I can fit into their life instead of just urging the app. I took into consideration some selected demographics, which included:
Lives in Kerala
Include participants of different genders
Working professionals that are busy with work duties, but want to be up to date
How do people check news currently?
Random news on radio
If someone is talking about the news in their workspace or college
When they use mobile phones?
Insights from the research
Most who use a News app started because its convenient and the receive all the current news instantly & on the go.
They check the news every morning or whenever they get some free time during the entire day.
They rely on Notifications to get the latest news. The moment a notification comes & the headline seems interesting enough, they open the app then.
Most used apps are: Manorama, Mathrubhumi and Facebook news
People like variety and the flexibility to choose according to their likes & interests. They prefer customising the incoming news.
Their interests: Sports, trending news, entertainment, business, international news etc.
Those interviewed said they would start using such an app if it had proper customisation features, news from all around & easy usability.
Quality of news & personalization was of high importance.
Going further through the research, I identified 2 personas which have different needs and different goals. This data will be useful to improve the user experience for each one of them.
So after getting insights from User interviews and creating personas I found another helpful way to understand users is to build a user story around their experiences with the product.
To accomplish this, I created a fictional one-sentence user story that was told from the persona’s point of view to inspire and inform my design decisions.
I created a hypothesis statement — an educated guess about what I think the solution to a design problem might be. Since I understand the users’ challenges, I felt it’s time to consider how my designs can alleviate their pain points.
"Sreejith needs an app that allows him to read short news at his convenience and any time without too much hassle and be able to filter them according to his interests."
What the product does: The app allows users to access & read short news in Malayalam language, from national & international sources with one swipe, also providing them the feasibility to customise their experience.
Designing the Solution
After identifying the problem statement, I needed to design a solution to the pain points. The design solution also needed to be scalable to address different result types in the future & keep up with the upcoming technology.
And along with all this it is important to create comfort and delight for the user.
I created a low-fidelity wireframe to represent the skeleton of the app.