A platform that
compiles news

Aggregate is a service that sorts news sources by story,
allowing users to read a range of views and opinions.

Defining the problem

Social media is fast becoming a main source of news, with targeted stories increasing misinformation and polarisation amongst users.

The traditional media have established themselves online, offering a wide range of perspectives on daily headlines. However, readers continue to engage with a limited selection of sources.

Affinity mapping digital news

User research

Conducting both qualitative and quantitative research, I gathered participants and observed their behaviours whilst reading news. Analysing screen recordings, I found that most participants using social media were distracted by the platform’s core content.

The largest group consuming digital news are aged 18-30. Through surveying this group, I found most of them used apps for news but mainly stuck to one and these lacked personalisation and social media integration.

Multi-tasking news apps on Android

User personas

Creating detailed summaries of each user type within the target audience was key in determining design solutions. Each persona had different personality traits, goals and frustrations based on research from surveys and interviews.

For example, James was a workaholic and too busy to read through each item. It was necessary to design greater personalisation with a morning briefing which summarised any articles relevant to his interests.

James Gregory persona profile

User flows

Several journeys were created using the personas to predict various touchpoints and pains. This allowed for evaluation of how the user would access the platform and achieve their goals.

Sarah found out about the service from a friend, accessed the website and liked its convenience but was worried about privacy. Implementing an opt-in for additional functionality and being transparent about what data was being collected resolved her concerns.

Sarah's journey map

Wireframing

With such a content-rich project, wireframing was important to quickly test out layouts and structures. Users wanted a clean design with intuitive navigation and smooth transitions between sources.

Eye-tracking was used throughout the prototyping stage to assess where and for how long people were looking. By iterating on this I came up with layouts and elements for both the web and app designs.

Low-fidelity website wireframe

Prototyping

Taking the wireframes further, text and images from current news stories were added to increase fidelity. This contextualised the design and highlighted changes needed to prevent an information overload.

It was important to refine the layout to allow the user to scan content efficiently. Interactive prototypes were created to test the navigation and information hierarchy which was tailored to each user.

High-fidelity desktop prototype

Visual identity

A clean design was crucial in allowing the content to speak for itself, not distracting the user with paywalls or pop-up ads. After researching legibility, I decided to use the serif typeface Merriweather as it provided an elegant reading experience.

The typeface helped the identity standout in a digital era of sans-serifs and harks back to the era when newspapers began using the printing press.

GIF brand ident

Solution

A single platform to collate news sources creates a more rewarding and efficient experience. It offers users a range of views and allows them to engage with opposing opinions and styles of journalism and aims to decrease the polarisation media can provoke.

With the addition of personalisation and voice assistant integration, Aggregate is the platform for exploring current events in the digital era.

Aggregate app dashboard
iOS notifications giving the latest updates

Notifications for breaking news

Desktop version of Aggregate

Website homepage

Showing the Twitter posts related to this article

Stories integrated with Twitter

GIF swiping between sources

Easily swipe through sources

Siri showing the most relevent articles from Aggregate

Voice assistant enabled morning briefing in car

Typing 'Aggregate is a news tool for everyone, powered by RSS feeds'

Motion graphic advert

Development

Throughout the design process, development was always considered the next stage. What technologies could be utilised? What limitations do I need to acknowledge during design decisions? How could these designs come to fruition?

Aggregate is currently in development, powered by RSS and JSON.

RSS Guardian news feed