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An App that helps people consume News more mindfully.

As alerts flash, news breaks, and unread posts pile up, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and overloaded. People want to stay informed but they are getting overwhelmed with information overload and too much negative news. Research shows that negative news can cause significant mood changes, generating anxiety and depression.


The COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated the issue as there has been so much sad news being published. But, a user can’t control what the News organisations are publishing. Even though users are indeed overwhelmed by what’s happening in the country and the world, they want to stay aware and read the news. People need a platform that will keep them updated with the latest news while making them aware of the type of news they are consuming and help them manage their emotions when they feel sad after reading a particular piece of news.




A 2019 Reuters Digital News report gave me tremendous insight into the state of news consumption in India.


  • A mobile-first market: people identify smartphones as their main device for online news.      

  • A platform-dominated market: an overwhelming majority access news through a variety of digital platforms. 

  • Facebook and WhatsApp are widely used for news, with 75% of respondents using Facebook, and 82% using WhatsApp, Instagram (26%), Twitter (18%), and Facebook Messenger (16%).        

  • Online news and social media have outpaced print as the main source of news among people under 35.·        

  • Many news consumers say that they share and/or comment on online news, with high levels of engagement on Facebook and WhatsApp.

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I conducted a competitive analysis to understand the current landscape of the news app market. I selected 3 popular news aggregator apps. I downloaded the apps on my smartphone and conducted an observation on every page of the competitor’s app. I tried to explore and identify the onboarding, features, information, navigation, categorization, layout, strength and weaknesses. 

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To conduct primary research, I conducted user interviews as my research methodology. The survey was meant to screen the right participants for the interview. The survey was posted on LinkedIn and Slack Springboard group. The survey received a total of 43 responses. I shortlisted 6 participants based on a screener survey.


A diagrammatic representation of the statistics obtained are set out below:

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I screened over 43  participants to shortlist 6 people for the user interviews. I ensured that they were regular News consumers. A 30 minute long, one-on-one video interview was conducted with six users after a screener survey.  

Here are some of the questions asked during the interview:


  • When was the last time you consumed the news online?

  • What was it about? Which news topic interested you the most? 

  • Where did you search for this news? Why did you choose this platform? What are your other favourite news sources that you use frequently?

  • Can you describe your experience while consuming the news?  Did you face any problems? Were there any distractions?

  • Did you share or forward the news?  How did you share it? Why did you decide to share it?

  • If you want to find more detailed information about a piece of news, where do you go?

  • How do you feel emotionally after consuming news?  Can you recall particular news that affected you in a certain way? How did it affect you?

  • After reading a piece of news, do you like to leave a comment? Do you like to see other people’s views and comments about the news article? Why?

  • What motivates you to read/watch the news?

  • What categories of news do you like to read? Can you give examples?


Some of the impactful quotes directly from the participants.

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The next step was to define the problem. To do this, I first needed to understand the main problem areas by synthesizing the research.


I created an affinity map to write down my observations and key participant quotes observed during my conversations with the participants. I used sticky notes for the process. I replicated the same on the Miro board for better legibility. I grouped the insights gathered from user interviews based on similarities. These are the important categories that came out of it:

  • Likes and preferences

  • Pain-points

  • Usage habits

  • Engagement with news

  • Goals and motivation

  • Tools used

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Common points included- 

  1. Want more personalized and customized news.

  2. Prefer to browse headlines.

  3. Too many advertisements.

  4. Want brief summary of the news.

  5. More negative than positive news is being published.

  6. Feeling sad after reading certain news.


I created an empathy map of each participant to delve deeper into their minds. I tried to map the thoughts of the participants to understand their behaviours and emotional state. I created an empathy map for each of the 6 participants. Then I created the final 2 empathy maps that helped me to create the two personas. The empathy maps helped develop the two user types into personas.

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Created two distinct user personas which helped me align on strategies for moving forward and identify goals that need to be met to provide a good user experience for specific user groups.

Primary Persona: Headline browser Amita

She likes to browse through headlines and doesn’t like very detailed news articles. She easily gets overwhelmed with information overload. She needs an app that gives her news in a minimalist format with content presented concisely. She is also a very emotional person and gets disturbed when she comes across negative news.

Secondary Persona: Newsjunkie Rohit

Rohit’s goal is to stay updated with the latest news and to gain knowledge. He checks the news several times a day. He likes to bookmark articles. He likes to share news articles with his friends and colleagues. He hates frequent ads while he is consuming news as gets distracted.

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From the research synthesis, I was able to come up with specific problem statements that needed to be solved.

How might we manage the emotions of people after they consume negative news?

How might we provide news according to user's preferences?

How might we prevent information overload but keep users informed?



How might we manage the emotions of people after they consume negative news?

  • Making the user aware of the emotions a particular piece of news can invoke before he starts reading the news. This can be done by color coding the news articles. A red color may indicate negative news. Another option can be to assign emojis to the news articles according to the emotion they may invoke. For instance, a sad emoji to a news headline may indicate that the news is sad and can be depressing. The reader may decide to skip the news and move on to another news.

  • Enable the user the option to share emotions after reading sad news and manage the emotion of the user after reading the news.

  • Managing the emotion of the user after reading the news by showing positive news or funny videos.

How might we provide news according to user's preferences?

  • Allow the user to customize the feed according to their preferences.

  • Use AI for curating the news feed.

How might we prevent information overload but keep users informed?

  • Use of algorithms to evaluate millions of articles to deliver the top stories that matter most.

I decided that a news chatbot would be the right solution due to the following reasons:


A chatbot will be in control of proving the new in a concise and precise manner. It will present limited news at a time so as to not overwhelm the user. The user will get relevant news of his choice instead of getting lost in the sea of information.


A chatbot will be able to manage emotions by feeling empathetic towards the user who is feeling sad after reading a piece of depressing news and will be able to give tips to improve his mood.


I formulated 3 user flows that would show the most important paths that the users will take to accomplish key tasks. This process helped me visualize how a persona would get from A to B.


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Once the information architecture was done, I moved on to the designing phase of the case study. I started sketching the screens identified in the user flows to visualize how they would look on a mobile device.

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With a solid base for functionality, I began working on the visual design. 

To make sure that the app reflected the brand values I had in mind, I created a mood board to inspire the final visual design without losing sight of the bigger picture.


I took inspiration from the mood board to create the style guide. 


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For the usability test session, I interviewed 5 participants. I conducted one in-person moderated testing and 4 remote moderated usability testing. 


Tasks scenarios-


User Goal 1: Browse news 

Task scenario 1: While having your breakfast, you want to check the latest headlines.


User Goal 2: Search news on a particular topic and share news.

Task Scenario 2: You are concerned and curious about the current covid situation and want to read Covid related news. 


User Goal 3: Customize news feed and notification.

Task Scenario 3: You are overwhelmed with the negative news being published and want only positive news on the news feed and not get the crime or distressful news. You want to customize the news feed according to your favourite topics.


User Goal 4: Save a news article

Task Scenario 4:  You open the app. It's 9 AM and you are browsing through the morning news headlines and come across news that you want to read in detail but you are about to start work and don't have time to read the full article. 


User goal 5: Manage emotion.

Task Scenario 5:  While browsing the news headlines, you come across the news on cyclone Yaas. You read the full article to know more about it. After reading the article you get concerned and emotional. You want to share your emotions.


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This case study has been a great learning experience right from identifying the problem to executing the solution. Using in-depth research, documentation, and usability testing emphasized the importance of user-centred design.

A product like Scribe can make digital news consumption more meaningful. A solution that will make people more aware of the kind of news they are consuming rather than doomscrolling through bad news even though the news is saddening and depressing.

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