Wearables

The Challenge

The biggest challenge for creating a news consumption app was that we needed to build a prototype in live code as it was impossible to adequately user test on a prototype where the nuances of the interactions would be lost. It was important that the prototype would be consumed on an actual watch.

Approach

A group comprising of 5 UX Designers and a UX architect was formed and we began the project by exploring the subjects, limitations, opportunities, concerns and questions that we had around the subject of wearable tech and news consumption. Reverse brainstorming technique was used to generate divergent thought and really ‘find the edges’ of the subject. Additionally we created personas based on what we already knew about wearable tech users and how they fit in with our current Masthead personas.

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Early project scoping and research revealed that the small screen real-estate didn’t necessarily lend itself to a rich news consumption experience. More interesting was the notion of news notifications, however we did explore methods of consuming news using completely new paradigms such as Spritz. Based on our developed understanding of the user requirements and more defined product scope, the team architect put together a user-flow.

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The Vision

A considerable amount of time was spent getting familiar with the native Android interactions for wearable devices and how we might (where possible) use these paradigms without completely inventing a new interaction system. It was especially important to draw on these learnings given the timeframe of the project.

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Outcomes & Achievements

We created a working concept that from a usability point of view looked and performed well, however there was a question mark over whether we really proved the overall concept.

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Learnings

In terms of the final outcome, it would have been good to be more discerning about the scope for the product. During usability testing and validation we discovered that the user wasn’t interested in consuming the story on the watch, however they were interested in configuring a notification system and offering headlines, stand firsts and engaging photography with a view to mark the story for later to consume on a larger-screen device.

It is important when creating a proof of concept related to a high profile industry launch that integrity and a degree of secrecy is adopted when working through the problem. There is a real risk in large enterprise that innovation projects can be at risk when senior stakeholders have a vested interest in a concept being delivered. It is paramount to any innovation project that the team are completely objective and open to failure to ensure that a quality product is created…or not.

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Client

Innovation Team, News Corp – Feb 2015

Responsibilities

UX Designer, Creative Director, Lean Ambassador, Workshop Facilitator, Team Lead

Summary

In anticipation of the Apple Watch launch I was tasked by the innovation team to form a group of UX designers and explore what news consumption could look like on this new medium.