A MOBILE NEWS APP THAT MAKES THE NEWS MORE ACCESSIBLE, PRIMARILY THROUGH A CHATBOT INTERFACE
News stories are often inundated with what I like to call journalistic jargon, vocabulary that is too specific or difficult for most people to understand. This type of language often discourages people from continuing to read the news and by cause-and-effect, becoming informed citizens. Having made this observation, a question was raised: How do could the news be made more accessible?
Through four rounds of prototyping and user testing, Newsbud became the answer to this question.
The first round of prototyping focused focused on doing two things:
1) establishing newsbots as friendly chatbots that guide and encourage app users to read the news and,
2) playing with a card-based design wherein users could swipe through different stories, one at a time, before selecting one to read.
Although the first version formed the basis of the app's chatbot interface, a takeway was that, moving forward, I wanted to create more engagement between potential news readers and the stories they read.
Second & Third Prototype
The second and third prototypes made up for the lack of engagement in the first iteration by making the newsbots assume the worldviews of various public figures, such as Michelle Obama and Socrates.
While these versions were playful, I quickly realized that having the news bots assume the personality and tone of a public figure would quickly become problematic. Therefore, it was back to the drawing table.
The final version of the app went back to the basic structure of the first version while also taking the idea of different bot personas from the second and third prototypes, however, without attributing them to public figures. Instead, various newsbots accommodate for different types of news beats, from local to business to weather coverage.
Each bot specializes in their own news beat, however, multiple bots may provide insight or their individual take on a single story. In other words, the newsbots function as the "lens" through which users may adjust the scope of their news coverage and how they might experience and interpret a story themselves.
Newsbots are able to guide users by defining words, researching the backgrounds of the subjects involved in a story, or providing their take on current events.