The Telegraph digital propositions had become outdated, lagging far behind competitors, and was in need of replatforming. The brand had also been yet to explore opportunities for different media propositions, such as video and voice interfaces.
In 2015, to celebrate the milestone of 160 years of serving news to millions of people around the world, the brand wanted to relaunch it’s core digital products while transforming the publishing experience for journalists.
Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, I engaged with multiple stakeholder teams to ensure the needs of editorial and commercial were captured. I led the user experience on several products, while coaching print designers to expand their skills to cover interaction design.
We kicked off with a 2 week ‘visioning’ sprint, working offsite to generate and develop ideas for the two most popular channels - News and Sport - ready to take forward to research with users.
I built close working relationships with product and research to ensure we were developing the right proposition. Ideas were rapidly prototyped for research with users to ensure we were delivering propositions that were desirable for existing and prospect users, viable to the business, and technically feasible.
I partnered with research to plan activities, identify behaviour patterns and prioritise problems. I would then work with team members to discuss the problems that had been identified, generating ideas and agreeing on solutions for the next iteration.
Sport is quite different to regular news - the vast majority of sporting events are scheduled, which makes it easier for editors to plan resources. Insight revealed that sport fans would habitually search for 'BBC Sport' in search engines to view ‘live’ articles and scores when the events were happening.
To increase traction for Telegraph ‘live’ articles, we added calendar functionality for users to save future events to pull them back to The Telegraph when ‘live’ coverage started. The product was utilised across other channels with similar events - such as Lifestyle to promote coverage of cultural events.
‘Bots’ often provide a frustrating experience due to their limited capabilities communicating with users. However, there is less complication when the subject is hyper-specific - such as a single football team. I prototyped a simple experience to validate the concept with users - after which we built and released on Facebook Messenger. The bots provided team-specific live match updates, stories and statistics, while also offering a layer of humour - appropriate to Sport culture.
Qualitative research and competitor analysis validated the need for the Telegraph to develop a Video hub. Understanding the commercial requirements and the experience of users within video helped identify opportunities for innovation. An example of this is how the video player reduces and fixes on scroll, ensuring 100% visibility for both the pre-roll advertisement and video content, while also allowing the viewer to browse the page.
I worked with data specialists to plan and execute multivariate tests on the live site around several themes - such as increasing article page views - to see what impact features can make.
It's been an incredible effort by all the teams involved. Our readers can enjoy a smart, modern, clean and engaging new site. And our journalists benefit too, from an infinitely better set of tools. This of course is not the end. We all share the ambition to make the new site even better and even more engaging.
Chris Evans Editor at The Telegraph