Senior designers Scott Stroud and Libby Bawcombe sketch content flows for the NPR News app

NPR Design

How can we support a more informed public through digital product design?

Overview

Product design at NPR is a wonderful challenge. It includes listening, reading, and viewing experiences for a diverse range of audiences on a growing number of platforms and channels.

As a product designer, I had the opportunity to re-think news flows on NPR's flagship app, prototype story interactions on NPR.org, and facilitate user testing for mobile listening features. 

I have outlined a few projects below.

SCOPE

Timeline: 2016 - 2017

Role: UX and visual product design


NPR News App

My time at HQ was primarily focused on a redesign of the NPR News App. Interestingly, audience behaviors rarely overlap on our products: people stick to their preferred modes of consuming media on their preferred devices. (Roughly 60% of News App users exclusively read stories, while 30% only stream live radio.) NPR is also tasked with designing for devoted generations of existing users, while continuing to attract younger and more tech-savvy audiences.

We tackled central concerns within news media, as well as specific questions for NPR. What should a morning brief feel like? What are the differences between news stories and our human interest content? How might a user flip between segmented audio and breaking news on live radio?

The News App team sketched moon-shot ideas as well as MVP concepts. We prototyped on paper and in Framer. We collaborated with the News Room and the Sponsorship team. We tested assumptions with users who listen to NPR in their cars and those who exclusively read content on their phones.

Quick design sprints allowed for experimentation, validation, failure, and iteration. Morning stand-ups and weekly design meetings presented opportunities to seek opinions from fellow designers working on different projects across the organization. Stakeholder reviews offered tough questions and needed feedback.


Tiny Desk Contest

Among other fun things, I worked with NPR's Listener Journey and Music teams on designs for the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest . 

The interesting challenge with the Tiny Desk project was to create flexible designs that functioned within the current system, while being able to incorporate content from future contest cycles.


ROCKY MOUNTAIN VR

In addition to my work on the Digital Media Design Team, I had the opportunity to shoot NPR's first-ever 360 feature: Rocky Mountain VR

A full report of the project can be see here.