Time Inc, worldwide mass media corporation and owner of over 100 magazine brands was suffering declining readership and ad revenue on its namesake property TIME Magazine. The challenge was to build a design architecture and language system that could effectively cut costs, achieve economies of scale and drive growth through an improved user experience. The ask was to build a one size fits all for TIME, Fortune and Money.com, while addressing the UX concerns and business goals of their respective websites.
The Problem. The Time, Inc team set out to tackle each issue using Design Thinking. We broke it down into two Design Sprints to cover all the problems facing articles and galleries. A team of 8-12 people was assembled from various disciplines including Design, Development, Product, Editorial, Photography and Research.
The Process. Anecodotal information from user studies told the Time, Inc team that there was too much clutter on the page and distracted users from their desired goals. Additionally, the data showed that Avg page view/visit were low, as well as avg. video views/visit and time spent. To users the page style felt old and antiquated. These stories were true of all three brands. Additionally, galleries are one of TIME’s most coveted features and though it was performing well, it lacked some basic features that our editors and users wanted. Including proper social sharing on a per image basis, photos not getting cropped by the viewport, a way to treat vertical images and a way to handle captions better.
The Solution. Our user studies suggested that our pages were too ‘busy’. By reducing the amount of clutter on the page we gave the user more opportunity to find other articles that might interest them. This lead to a bump in avg. page views/visit. We also introduced autoplay for the next video in the top container which surprised and delighted users. This lead to a bump in avg. video views/visit. The minimalist approach to the page design led to a more modern feel addressing users initial concerns.
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