NYT Delivery combines a personalization quiz and an app to deliver curated content to casual users of the New York Times.
The New York Times is one of the most influential media companies in the world. They produce more than just breaking news and investigative journalism; they also produce high-quality storytelling through photography, video, podcasts and other interactive content. Subscribers are aware of this content for the most part, but more casual users consider the New York Times primarily a source for news, and are unaware of the broad range of content available.
How might we increase awareness of the range of New York Times content available among casual users?
On a team of two, I contributed to user research, ideation, prototyping, content writing, and creating our pitch presentation.
Casual users of the New York Times, defined as users who know about the NYT, read an article now and then but do not subscribe.
Through a personalization quiz, content deliveries and a feedback loop, NYT Delivery makes casual users more aware of the variety of content they have to offer.
Users find the quiz through advertising, word of mouth, or a shared post by a friend, the places they would normally find their media. Clicking on the link takes you to a mobile site on your phone giving no friction to entry.
The quiz follows the natural flow of a user’s day: morning, afternoon and evening, asking questions about when they consume the media, what media they prefer, what topics they want to hear about and how long they have to consume the media.
2. Content Deliveries
After completing the quiz, users receive a notification about their first delivery. They are prompted to download the NYT Delivery app at this time, in order to receive access to their delivery. The content in the delivery is curated based on the results of their quiz, and will be delivered at the time(s) of day they prefer.
For example, if a user said they liked to read articles in the morning on their commute, listen to podcasts in the afternoon during their lunch, and watch videos while they wind down at the end of the day, they would receive three corresponding pieces of content.
Receiving just one piece of content at a time encourages deeper engagement and makes it stand out from the rest, which means that our users are more likely to remember it and think back on it the future. If a user would like to access more content, they can go to the "More section of the app, where they will find additional curated content.
3. Feedback Loop
At the end of every piece of content, users are given the opportunity to provide explicit feedback about each of their deliveries. This data is used overtime to improve the accuracy of deliveries.
1. Research Provided by the New York Times
The New York Times provided our class with internal user research, which we had the opportunity to review and synthesize even further. In class, we organized findings into themed clusters.
My team decided to focus on differentiation and awareness of the wide range of content available from the New York Times. Individually, we sketched multiple concepts and corresponding scenarios, including an early iteration of NYT Delivery, NYT You, that packaged content based on users interests, and had a young, conversational tone.
2. Desk Research
We began our research by looking at what creates awareness. We discovered that awareness is more than just knowing something exists.
It means that something has been memorable to you, that it comes back to you from time to time or maybe even multiple times a day. It also means that something is relevant to you and aligns with your personal narrative and the way you see the world. Finally, it means that it is helpful to you and solves a problem in your day to day life.
3. Primary Research
Next, we spoke to several millennial-aged casual readers of the New York Times about how they consume content from the New York Times as well as other news and media outlets. Our research provided the following insights:
Users were not aware of all the content the New York Times has to offer. Also,
Users were used to and appreciated having content curated for them, either by their friends, family, or social media.
Users want to have more control over what content they see and when, especially when news is upsetting
These insights pointed us in the direction of curation and personalization. Users wanted to see content that was relevant to them, and they wanted to have more of a say in when they consumed and what format it was in.
4. Competitive Analysis
We looked at what other media and retail brands were doing in the area of personalization and curation, including USA Today, the Washington Post, Apple News, and Spotify.
A breakthrough came when we began considering how brands like Third Love and Prose Hair were using quizzes to help users determine which product was right for them. This allowed them to provide the user with exactly what they wanted, while obtaining valuable information about the user. In turn, these brands were more memorable, and the products both helpful and relevant to the user, meeting all of the criteria we defined for what creates awareness.
We created a prototype of the quiz that would get information from our users about what kind of New York Times content they liked, when they preferred to consume it and in what format. We were very deliberate in creating a conversational and casual tone to the quiz, so the user felt more connected and supported, like the New York Times was truly making an effort to help them and improve their experience.
In our first round of user testing, we discovered that we needed to be more specific in our questioning about the content topics users were most interested in. We also made the tone even more conversational.
One user shared that the quiz helped her gain insight into herself, tapping into the idea of meaning and helpfulness before the content of NYT delivery is even received:
"This is great, I feel like I really learned about my own media habits. I like getting updated in the morning, something more fun in the afternoon, and by the end of the day I'm ready to relax."