It was intended to track news content as it traversed the web, detecting piracy along the way. It was an ambitious databasing project, at its peak, taking in feeds from more than 900 news sites. The idea: create the largest database of current news content in the country, both categorized by topic and increasingly trackable as it was used (or misused) on the web.
At the time of this project, there were no other platforms like this out there. The engineers were working with Microsoft Sharepoint as the backend so we had some technical limitations to work with as well.
Role & Team:
1 Lead UX Designer
1 Visual Designer
1 Junior UX Designer
1 Business Analyst
4 AP stakeholders
One great thing about this project is the whole team basically started together. The stakeholders had decided on this new project and had worked with a business analyst to get a majority of the goals and requirements written down.
We all got into one big room together and started working side by side. While the engineers worked on the backend architecture, the design team and I poured over requirements. We met with stakeholders a couple times a week to ask questions and get clarification on items.
As we were reading, we started sketching ideas and concepts. This helped us understand the space and the request of the stakeholders.
While there was no actual user research done on this project, we synthesized requirements and did secondary research to try and understand our end customer.
Our target audience was publishers of content, around 6,700 media organizations, who are part of the AP group. The stakeholders were not very UX savvy, so we created user profiles instead of personas. This was also beneficial from a UX point of view since we hadn't done any in-depth primary research.
Once we had a feel for the domain and its users, as well as we could with the limitations, we created a platform sitemap. While the sitemap may look simple, there was a lot going on for each screen.
For each primary profile and user scenario, I created user flows to understand the interaction of how the user might use the system.
Once we had an understanding of the domain and the user as best we could, I started wireframing. I broke the reports screen into sections and created a template.
After working on the navigation and controls, I focused on the reports themselves. We were only designing for desktop at the time so we didn't need to worry about mobile screens.
I think one of the hardest parts of the visual design was working with the graphs. Do we use color to differentiate items? What about accessibility? Can we dynamically generate a unique color for each bar? Do we use patterns?
Looking back on the project, I should have fought harder to be able to do some primary research such as in-depth interviews with content publishers. A lot of the design was done on assumptions from the stakeholders.
While the project went live on time, it was sold within a year as NewsRight, and then closed down two years later. Although the UX was solid, the project itself had a muddled strategy and a weak business model. Anti-piracy, itself, has proven not to be much of a business model.