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All the News That Fits to Print: Re-thinking Consumption32:22 with Chris Clarke
Consuming news is not something people spend a lot of time thinking about. However if you analyse people's intent, certain modes of consumption begin to appear. Combine those with a theory allowing you to differentiate the content people want to consume and you have a vision for a homepage. This talk focuses on how a team of five theorised content consumption from the perspective of time and turned that into fast and slow journalism design patterns - taking the container model a step further and changing the Guardian homepage completely.
[MUSIC] 0:00 [APPLAUSE] >> Good afternoon. 0:12 Just to check can everybody hear me okay? 0:17 Yeah? 0:19 Okay, cool. 0:20 So, I'm well aware of the fact that I work at The Guardian, 0:22 which is probably considered old media. 0:25 So it's not lost on me the fact that I am talking at Future of 0:28 Web Design about the future of web design from a newspaper. 0:31 That's okay. 0:34 But, as we just said I am literally the thing standing between 0:36 all of you and lunch. 0:40 I won't hold it against you if you pass out from hunger, if you leave or 0:42 if you go on Twitter's. 0:45 It's totally fine, don't worry. 0:47 So as I said I'm Chris Clark. 0:50 I'm mister_mister on Twitter. 0:51 Don't ask me why. 0:54 I was the UX Architect on theguardian.com, right up until the launch of the website. 0:56 And I now work on the mobile apps team on things like iPhone, Android, 1:01 iWatch, and so on. 1:05 I used to work at Yahoo Answers, GOSPAM. 1:08 And in my spare time I generally, 1:11 I like to say I do a lot of bouldering and things at the gym. 1:12 But I generally just find myself being a lot hurt, cuz I'm getting old. 1:16 [LAUGH] I wanna say a couple of big thank yous to some 1:19 of the people who are in the team when I worked on this project. 1:23 So Sam, Cecilia, and Theresa, Kat Stubbins, Alex Breuer, Chris Mulholland, 1:26 and Nick Haley. 1:30 Thank you to Veronica, she's in the room, no? 1:31 For taking a shot at me. 1:34 And yeah, anybody else who contributed to stuff, thank you very much. 1:35 So does anybody remember this site? 1:39 Does anybody prefer this site? 1:44 Doors over there, by the way. 1:45 [LAUGH] So we worked on a responsive website launch for 1:48 about the last two to three years. 1:54 In 2012, we had a separate desktop and mobile site. 1:58 This was really inefficient way to actually create our content, 2:01 to update our content. 2:04 Nothing could be reused across platforms. 2:06 You had to make everything twice. 2:08 This really famous moment in the Obama election campaign in 2012. 2:09 When the entire site just collapsed. 2:13 So it just didn't work. 2:16 So we fixed it. 2:18 Well, fixed it, we changed it. 2:19 [LAUGH] We launched the new site at the end of January. 2:20 And this was a single platform for our web apps, for our website. 2:24 We pooled everything, all of our CMS, all of our tools internally so 2:28 we could start to create our content really quickly. 2:32 We could update it quickly. 2:34 We launched the site anywhere between eight to ten times a day, 2:36 relaunched it with new stuff. 2:39 We're, yeah, we're going crazy. 2:41 So this talk is gonna be a lot about responsive web design. 2:43 This feels like it's a big shift for news organizations. 2:47 Producing everything on old platforms, doing it smartly. 2:51 But it made everything, it came at a cost. 2:57 So we've started to sort of get into a problem 2:58 where we were making everything bigger. 3:02 Hopefully this is what I'm going to talk about, to do with the news homepage. 3:04 I know a lot of you will think that, yeah, I just go from Twitter, 3:09 I go from Facebook, I go to articles, and then I just drop out. 3:13 We're not under any illusions that the home page 3:16 isn't as important to us as it important to you. 3:19 I mean a lot of people internally think it's this. 3:21 That's fine. 3:24 It's not going away. 3:25 We talk about the fact that 50% of our traffic now comes from this and 3:26 that's really important to us. 3:31 We wanna keep up with the times, but we can't forget about the fact 3:33 Less than 40% or 30%, but they still come from desktop. 3:39 There are a lot of our loyal readers from our sort of 3:43 all the generations of site redesign and so on. 3:47 Yes, we went from mobile first with our new site, but 3:49 we can't forget about desktops. 3:52 So a lot of the talk is actually gonna be about desktop. 3:54 I'm going to go a bit back in time to last summer, and 3:57 talk about something we call internally, density. 4:00 A term that we came up with, 4:04 we kind of amalgamated a number of things together and used density. 4:06 So all this responsive web design, all this new stuff that we were coming up with 4:10 was having an affect on this thing that we called density. 4:14 Which was larger images, larger font. 4:17 All sort of accumulates to the fact that users weren't being able to 4:21 get this overview of news. 4:23 And that's kind of a massive problem, right? 4:24 We want them to be sure that they can actually read the content 4:26 on any device they want. 4:29 When we spoke to the BBC, they called it information density. 4:31 So this wasn't a thing that internally we thought was just Important to us, 4:34 this was important to everyone. 4:38 And I mean by information density, 4:40 it's literally the amount of stuff we can fit into if viewport at any one time. 4:41 We're obviously not going to be able to fit everything. 4:45 We want to make sure that the design looks nice. 4:48 We're not just going to put basic type up there. 4:50 And what I want to talk about today is how we didn't solve this with design. 4:54 I wanna change your mind and reframe this problem using something which quite 5:00 interestingly that David Hurley was talking about. 5:03 And coming from the point of view of the user and 5:06 the point at the time that they expect to spend on a page. 5:09 So I'm gonna do a couple of recaps on some of the big news organizations. 5:13 How they're tackling responsive website design, how we did it. 5:19 How we admitted that we probably didn't solve it all the way, 5:23 we kinda went about halfway. 5:26 And then how we actually just took a big leap of faith and 5:28 did something complete different. 5:30 So which of the big news organizations are looking at responsive website design? 5:32 How are they actually all doing it? 5:37 We're not cut from the same cloth. 5:39 The New York Times, which quite interestingly, 5:43 is where the name of the talk came from. 5:45 Which is all about journalistic quality of the content, 5:48 that was actually coined in 1900s, called the Grey Lady. 5:51 This is what happens when you research. 5:55 [LAUGH] Pointless facts. 5:56 They went ahead and relaunched their article page, similar to us In 2013. 5:59 But they didn't do their homepage. 6:03 They kinda tweaked it, they kinda did bits of it. 6:06 They didn't do a full redesign of everything. 6:10 They just did their article page and they didn't do their homepage, just bits. 6:12 I tried to get a quote from them, but they wouldn't talk to me. 6:17 So I went around the internet to look for 6:20 people who were talking about home page responsive website design. 6:23 And this guy Alex was talking. 6:27 There was a number of people who were talking like this. 6:29 Who were feeling like it was definitely something that 6:32 the New York Times needed to do. 6:35 Where they needed to move in this direction for this redesign. 6:36 Does everybody remember this innovation report? 6:41 This leaked innovation report from, was it last year? 6:43 You can quite clearly see from, whether or not this is accurate, who knows. 6:49 The downward trend across their home page visits was huge. 6:54 Maybe they didn't wanna spend money, resources, 6:57 time all that effort on something no one goes to. 7:01 Obviously I can only speculate this, but maybe they're putting more effort into it. 7:07 Maybe it's all about the apps for them, and that's fine. 7:13 BBC News. 7:19 So BBC News have followed us en suite in the way that 7:20 they have completely redesigned their entire experience just for news. 7:25 I imagine the other parts of the sites are coming at some point soon. 7:29 They've done it on PC. 7:34 They've kind of done a little bit of a redesign tweak, 7:35 rather than a full-on redesign. 7:39 But I would fully expect them to go something much different 7:40 like The Guardian did. 7:43 When I looked into their feedback, 7:46 it's amazing how similar the stuff that they were getting from us. 7:48 It was like, less information to scan on the screen. 7:51 I have to scroll more to see different ad lines, image's too big, font's too big, 7:53 yada yada yada. 7:58 Three months later, no change to design at all, 8:00 people started sort of getting grasp of it. 8:04 Feel that it was something that they were kind of understanding, 8:07 because all the news organizations are going this way. 8:10 By the way if there is anybody in the room from the BBC thanks for the new users. 8:13 Because they seem to be going on a sort of tennis trip between us and them. 8:19 It's like we hate you Guardian forever, we're gonna go to the BBC. 8:22 And then we see in the BBC, we hate BBC, now we're gonna go to The Guardian. 8:25 You're like, guys, same thing. 8:28 The Financial Times, this is a leaked image from the Business Insider. 8:31 It's quite interesting to see. 8:37 This is all very early days. 8:38 They're looking at it. 8:42 They're trying some of the models that we've tried. 8:43 Not in the same ways but that's cool. 8:46 It's good to see a lot of the big places try and 8:48 really experimental and news responsive design. 8:52 And last but not least, Bloomberg that has got all the blue, 8:55 all the Helvetica, all the colors, big bold. 9:00 So we're all kind of doing bits and 9:06 no one really seems to know that we're going in exactly the same direction. 9:08 We're all sort of feeling our way in the dark. 9:13 And we dont know which way is gonna work best. 9:15 But we all know we want to do something responsively because having a responsive 9:18 site is more efficient. 9:21 It means we can get stuff onto mobile quicker. 9:23 It's all about this, right? 9:25 It's good for everyone. 9:27 It's good for the business. 9:28 So, our response to this whole page 9:29 responsive conundrum was something we call the container model. 9:34 And it 9:39 kinda seems like it's a bit of a silver bullet the first time you talk about it. 9:42 Because you go, oh yeah, this container model, it sounds fantastic. 9:44 We're gonna solve everything with this. 9:48 Yeah, it was great, but it came with its own problems. 9:50 I'm totally missing the end of that. 9:53 It does nothing. 9:56 Don't worry. It just stops. 9:57 It's really, really, yeah, it was a bit of a killjoy for that, sorry. 9:59 So rather than cargo we have content. 10:03 On an average day we create around 500 pieces of content, sometimes 600. 10:06 With the election coming up we're gonna go crazy. 10:13 There's no way to house all this content in a responsive way. 10:17 It becomes a constant challenge and we end up in a bit of a bum fight like we did 10:20 here, where we were just fighting for the top part of the page. 10:25 Because if we look at a heat map of the old Guardian, it drops off significantly. 10:28 So we need to sort of encourage people to scroll a bit more, we need to 10:33 encourage people to start looking around the site for different types of content. 10:36 Enter the container model. 10:40 Does everybody know who this guy is? 10:42 As I was deliberately putting this guy up rather than Oliver Reichenstein. 10:45 Here's the other guy, an information architect, Konstantin Weiss, and 10:48 he helped us and Oliver Reichenstein come into the Guardian for a two week sprint. 10:52 We looked at the home page. 10:58 We looked at ways that we could improve how we were displaying our content and 10:59 also make sure that we were doing something responsively. 11:03 And we weren't just getting into another old version of the home page. 11:05 So, he would talk about this idea of containers being independent of layouts. 11:09 100% width all sounds great, right? 11:14 This every container could be so for example, 11:17 the top container could be a header, then navigation and 11:19 you could take this across any section front you want. 11:22 If you went into an article you could reuse containers for 11:26 different types of stuff. 11:28 If you wanted to duplicate something across containers, so be it. 11:30 It was fantastic. 11:33 Right? 11:34 And an individual container is made up, in our heads, was made up of an item. 11:36 Each item would be then called into a slice. 11:40 Normally a container would either be made up of a single slice or 11:43 a number of slices, but it all sounds like it's coming together and 11:46 it's something that we could really, really produce independent nice 11:49 containers of content that are filled with either news or culture or people. 11:54 But we actually ended up with, with something that 12:00 was 100% width and started to get quite sparse and quite wide. 12:05 And so we looked at this in February and we thought, 12:10 we've gotta redo some of this stuff. 12:12 We've gotta make sure that the important stories are big enough and 12:13 the non-important stories are a bit smaller, so 12:17 we did that, we went even bigger. 12:20 We're like right, we've gotta look at this again. 12:22 This was in May, this screenshot in 2014. 12:25 We gotta look at it again, we gotta fix the branding, we gotta fix the type, 12:27 we gotta fix this, we gotta fix so on. 12:31 And we did the same thing again. 12:33 We were talking about density even at this point before. 12:36 We went in to a separate team in July. 12:39 And we could have went in to another meeting room. 12:41 And we could have solved it again by just saying, you know what, 12:44 we did it wrong that time cause we did something slightly wrong in the design. 12:46 We'll just go in to a meeting room, we'll sit down and we'll discuss and 12:49 solve it there. 12:52 We didn't do that. 12:53 The next gen. 12:55 God. [LAUGH] Which is dead now. 12:56 The next gen team who was responsible for 12:58 delivering the new website was made up of designers, developers, products, 13:00 editorial, we annexed a small part of that team. 13:06 So just five people. 13:11 We went into a separate room. 13:11 We sat down and our one outcome was to solve the problem. 13:14 Not actually come up or define the problem sorry, not solve anything, 13:21 not come up with amazing designs. 13:25 Just come up with a concept. 13:26 It's totally pressure free with six weeks and we were called Team Density. 13:28 [LAUGH] So the leadership team it was made up of like senior product people, 13:34 went away and gave us a time box challenge. 13:39 So they broke apart their, what they thought the problem was. 13:43 Cuz we weren't just gonna go into a room and just make up the problem ourselves. 13:45 They came with a bunch of requirements for us to come out of. 13:48 So they wanted us to, they assigned us a goal to be achievable in two months. 13:52 They wrote a series of assumptions whether we followed those or not was up to us. 13:57 We had initial sketch week, where there is no pressure at all. 14:00 Just think of anything you could, potentially what the problem could be. 14:03 And at the end come up with some defined input, so whether or not we actually make 14:07 recommendations, or whether or not we actually come up with designs. 14:11 Who knows? It was all up to us. 14:14 It was completely pressure free just think about it. 14:16 Leadership assumptions were as I guess as follows and 14:20 we kinda agreed on some of them. 14:23 Obviously these are comments those, the difficulty in understanding an overview 14:25 of articles or that sort of, I don't get this sense of an overview of news. 14:30 There's so much more scrolling and guessing involved in responsive design. 14:35 Obviously the old site reared its ugly head. 14:39 We weren't getting as much non content at the top of the page. 14:42 All of a sudden, 14:45 the whole top of the front page of the Guardian was dominated by news. 14:45 No non news whatsoever. 14:49 So we immediately thought, oh that's what we need to do. 14:51 That's how we fixed this problem. 14:54 And that's what we did the first time. 14:55 When we came in February and looked at that original design, we thought, 14:56 we know how to fix it, we just fixed this one bit of a problem. 15:00 And immediately off the bat, myself and the other designer in the team. 15:03 We're coming around this the same way. 15:09 We're not looking at this. 15:11 We're not talking about anything other than how we're gonna layout the page. 15:12 We're not actually talking about how people are actually consuming 15:16 the news on the page. 15:19 So we really needed to understand first off how people were 15:20 genuinely consuming our needs. 15:24 You would think immediately off the back of that. 15:27 Let's start with personas. 15:29 Cuz we can name a bunch of defined personas across all different use types. 15:31 But, against putting use personas, putting personas against a use agenda. 15:36 Is pretty much impossible to define. 15:43 You're talking about, I mean in one weekend that's just gone, 15:45 we've had an earthquake in Nepal. 15:48 Baltimore has declared a state of emergency. 15:50 And Keith Harris, 15:53 creator of Orville the Duck, literally just died like 30 minutes ago. 15:55 How do you, yeah I know. 16:00 But how do you design a user case for that? 16:02 It's impossible. 16:06 So what does an overview of news look like to an individual user? 16:07 Well it depends. 16:11 And it depends on when they're coming to the site, what their intentions are, and 16:12 this idea of modes of consumption. 16:16 Or I guess what is kind of a trendy term is jobs to be done. 16:18 So we all think about these things in terms of context and 16:22 we say yeah users come in for a commute and when they're at work and 16:26 when they're at home they're do different types of user understanding. 16:29 And we put those different types of contexts, 16:33 we actually applied three different modes of consumption against news consumption. 16:35 So update, extend, and discover. 16:39 Update is all about knowing, so just getting that top level skim of everything 16:42 that's happening right now, feeling like you're connected to the world. 16:46 Extend, you want to get a deeper understanding of a specific story. 16:51 So say from an update, you then come back to understand what's happened in Nepal. 16:56 Why has this happened. 17:02 Was it something underground? 17:03 Was it man made? 17:05 So on. And discover, 17:06 it's much more when you're like, when you're bored. 17:08 When you wanna relax. 17:10 This is much more the weekend type person. 17:11 So depending on the time of day or what the person's doing. 17:14 Readers, or our users, will use or enact one of several of these intentions 17:18 depending on whether it's a short form story, whether it's a massive story. 17:24 Ultimately, it depends. 17:29 So, we took all these consumption habits, we looked at this problem of news density 17:31 and what the biggest thing that we realized was, 17:35 was let's not think about this as a design challenge. 17:39 Let's not just make the image of it smaller. 17:42 Make the type a bit smaller. 17:43 Make it just a little bit more compelling. 17:45 Let's think about these, this context, these modes of consumption's, and 17:47 come up with a fresh perspective. 17:50 So, We had this team. 17:57 We had these modes of consumption. 18:04 So we had a kind of a way to sort of stack ourselves up. 18:06 And we went into a room. 18:10 And we spent, this is literally within about a couple of hours, 18:12 we started just sketching like crazy, and 18:15 we started falling into the same holes as the leadership team were. 18:18 Oh it could be about size, it could be white space. 18:22 It's the presentation of the story. 18:25 It's all these things that we've already covered around design and presentation. 18:27 The scannability of the view port it's the design, the context. 18:34 But that one thing, that context, that thing we were kind of, 18:38 we did all this thinking in the beginning and 18:41 we talked about our modes of consumption, and we think about these people, 18:44 and immediately this user context suddenly floats to the top. 18:48 And what is it the user's thinking about this layout? 18:51 What do they expect to see when they come to the page, and 18:54 it was only on the way to work. 18:57 And I was going through, there was a black fry station and I was literally about 19:00 to go into a tunnel and I thought, I need to load as much content around 19:04 the research of used consumption before I go into a tunnel and lose my connection. 19:08 And I was struck with a really, really interesting thought. 19:14 Did I actually have the time to download all the things I needed? 19:16 And I started to think about the time that it was taking me to read the news on my 19:19 commute and the time that I was spending reading news at work, 19:24 which is generally the time that I was spending reading news. 19:31 And this idea of time, the context sort of fed into time, and 19:35 it kinda stuck, and it was an easy word to work around. 19:39 So, I ran back in that morning and I found annoyingly this is out of context, 19:43 this was the smallest whiteboard I could find. 19:47 It was about an a3, and 19:49 I started writing literally every idea I could on this board. 19:51 Like five minute news, get the things you need, read the things you want, 19:54 But then we took a step back, brought some of the leadership team in, 20:00 and said what if news density isn't about space? 20:05 It's white space or sizer content. 20:09 What if density is about the time? 20:12 And this is the time that a user expects to spend on the page? 20:14 And if you apply that concept of time to the different modes of consumption, 20:19 it starts to form neatly into place. 20:24 So update, you would have a short amount of time, extend, 20:26 you would expect to spend a bit more time reading these, and 20:30 discover would be the most time that you would spend. 20:34 Here comes the science, we made an equation. 20:37 The user satisfaction of the page was 20:44 made successful by the perceived time and effort that a user expects to spend on 20:48 the page, including the presentation of variety of the content. 20:52 Now the presentation of variety of the content based on time feels like it 20:58 sort of depends on the speed of the story and how it's presented to the user, which 21:02 kind of fits nicely with Alan Rushbridge's sort of concept of fast and slow news. 21:06 So, or sorry, fast and slow journalism where something that's quick, 21:11 something that you just want to get a top level on. 21:16 Say for instance, a breaking news story and we don't have much information. 21:18 We just wanna tell you the bare bones. 21:22 We might not have a nice image, it doesn't matter. 21:24 And slow journalism is something deeper, it's more in depth. 21:26 We are allowing you to take more time over this because you expect to take more time, 21:29 so we designed it that way. 21:34 So fast journalism is simple looking. 21:36 It's easy and quick to scan, and it's really very much news focused. 21:38 Yes, we have some great news journalism, 21:44 but maybe at the time that the Nepal earthquake is happening, 21:46 we don't want to see incredible HD versions of shots of people being crushed. 21:48 We just wanna see the news. 21:54 We just wanna understand everything that's happening across the world right now. 21:56 And maybe we can do something really quick. 21:59 This is an example of the US front about a month ago. 22:01 And we start to look at, you know, these smaller images, slicker text. 22:04 It's a bit more uniform, it's sort of a four column layout. 22:12 Whereas, slow journalism is very much more visually rich, it's much larger. 22:17 We're expecting it to be more indulgent of this content. 22:22 This isn't content we just want you to consume really quickly. 22:25 We want you to deliberately take your time over it. 22:27 So something that's incredibly rich in color. 22:30 Something that has lots of visually rich indulgent stuff. 22:34 This is an example of the lifestyle front from a few months ago. 22:39 And you can immediately see there's much more color, it's much more visually rich. 22:43 I'd much rather see baked cod with pumpkin seed than someone missing a limb. 22:48 But it's just the way in the context. 22:53 We expect you to spend more time including this stuff. 22:55 That's not to say in the future when you come back to recap Nepal, 22:58 we wouldn't then allow you to indulge, take that time, 23:02 because you want to then better understand what's going on. 23:05 And yeah, we would even put in these full bleed 23:09 designs that I'll talk about in a little minute. 23:12 But we would expect you to spend more time on this page 23:14 because you have more time to spend. 23:18 So looking at that fast news and slow news and that update, extend, 23:22 discover, we applied different amounts of time to different stuff. 23:25 So update, you have a short amount of time, it's very much fast news. 23:31 Extend, with the more time, it kind of leans more towards slow news. 23:35 And then finally discover, when you have the most time, it's definitely slow news. 23:39 So one of the main things that we came out of this team density with was 23:43 we split the news container, the top news container, into headlines and highlights. 23:48 Very much that slow news and that fast news, to give our page a bit more balance. 23:53 To give our page a bit more of that meeting everyone a bit more halfway makes 23:57 our container ship very happy. 24:02 So that all sounds well and good, 24:08 but what happens if we want to take any one of those two things to the extreme? 24:11 And I'll only show the one example cuz I wanna leave a few minutes at the end for 24:15 any questions. 24:18 But what if we could take slow even slower? 24:19 What if we could push the pages even further? 24:22 And so, we would look at these slats, or these container layouts, 24:26 and we would think, is there a good variety of content and speed on this page? 24:31 You know, are we enacting this when someone looks at the page? 24:36 Do they think when something's wide, it's going to be really big, 24:39 it's really interesting, 24:41 when it's something small and narrow, that kind of flow, story of content. 24:42 I've got a couple of examples, one of them was something we called a joker card or 24:46 a joker container, which would kind of break all the rules of iGrid, 24:51 all the rules of our design principals. 24:54 It was a way for The Guardian to really experiment with being The Guardian, 24:56 I suppose, and pushing the design with animation was super, super rich. 25:00 It was so rich sometimes it actually broke the site. 25:05 [LAUGH] More often than not. 25:08 But you get the intent. 25:11 Right above it is something that's quite news focused, and 25:14 it's really stripped back. 25:17 It's just news, it's just text. 25:18 Whereas, right below it is something that's ridiculous. 25:20 I even think on the button there was a little shark fin that came out. 25:23 It was no expenses spared. 25:28 We just pushed it as far as we could because that was the place that we could. 25:30 And again, we have fantastic photojournalism at The Guardian, and 25:35 we wanted a place to showcase that, show it off. 25:39 But we didn't want to show it off right at top of the page all the time. 25:43 So we always placed right of bottom of every single front a sort of a gallery, 25:46 or a visual photographic treat for everyone to come back and experience. 25:51 And surprisingly, 25:56 we now get quite a lot more clicks at the bottom of the page then we used to. 25:57 Because people know now they can get our fantastic journalism in the same place 26:01 on every front. 26:05 So suddenly, that sort of initial stacked 26:06 100% with content suddenly becomes something that's a bit more flowing. 26:10 And we could start off with something really short, really succinct, 26:15 like headlines. 26:18 You expand into highlights, maybe you go back into a bit more news or 26:19 opinion, then we throw in like a joker container. 26:23 A few other containers around more news, non-news. 26:26 And then finally, with this big picture at the bottom. 26:29 And so suddenly that previous story or 26:32 that previous slide where you saw the design in was around sort of September, 26:34 this was the design we went with in January. 26:40 So immediately, 26:43 you're thrown with just the headlines, something that's really succinct. 26:44 It's really quite simple but depends on the type of story. 26:49 Again, we don't know what's going to happen. 26:52 And then the highlights, which are much more visually rich. 26:54 It's much more engaging. 26:58 We want you extend on those top stories. 26:59 We drop you into sport, where we might have a couple of pieces of opinion, 27:02 we might have some features. 27:05 And then we immediately have a joker card, a watch me date, 27:09 which is something that breaks all the rules. 27:12 And below it, again, is news. 27:15 So you can start to see the sort of flow of the page going over time. 27:16 It's not an exact science, this isn't a silver bullet, but it works for us. 27:22 And it works for our editorial team, 27:26 when they want to sort of mix and match different types of content. 27:28 I'm not saying right now if you went to the front it's gonna be very small. 27:31 The headlines are probably gonna be massive, because there are four or 27:35 five massive stories happening right at once, 27:38 and that's another challenge we kind of have to look at with this. 27:40 But if we approach it from the time that user expects to spend, 27:43 hopefully we can start to sort of solve some of these difficult 27:47 responsive design problems on the home page. 27:49 And one really quite unexpected thing that happened 27:53 was that people started changing how they talked about the home page, 27:57 and they started changing how they talked around how the home page was designed. 28:00 And it wasn't just about how this piece is designed, it was whether or 28:05 not it was fast or it was slow. 28:10 Well, how much time do we think someone wants to spend on this individual story? 28:12 Do we want to make sure, 28:16 or do we want to tell the user that it's something you can spend a lot of time on. 28:17 It's a big long read or it's just gonna be a few lines, don't worry. 28:20 So we would take every single front and we would go into a room and we would say, 28:26 does this container need to be this fast? 28:30 Does this container needs to be this fast? 28:32 Are we getting a good flow across different pages? 28:34 In our fronts tool, we actually name our containers based on speed and time. 28:37 This was completely unexpected out of six weeks of a project, but it's amazing how 28:42 many people started to talk about this sort of all encompassing idea of time, and 28:46 how we can break it down into little bits, and it can affect design. 28:51 But it also affects the way that people talk about stuff. 28:53 So, I'm not a huge one for giving takeaways. 28:57 I've got a few, some of them are probably quite obvious, but 29:02 I don't want to yeah, be a prophet about that type of stuff. 29:04 Anyway, the first one I wanna say is, 29:09 don't just go into a meeting room if you have a massive problem and 29:13 it's a big scary problem, and just come up with a big quick solution. 29:16 Even if you lose some money, or some time, take the time to do it well. 29:20 Take the time to understand why it's a problem, cuz if you don't, 29:25 it'll just come back and kick you in the backside again and again and again. 29:28 It happened to us, and it just took us to admit that we needed to do that. 29:32 Maybe this is only because it's a big organization, but when you're doing 29:37 something that's quite big, you know, you're tackling the homepage. 29:41 People think in news that it's the center of the universe. 29:44 You don't want to step on people's toes. 29:47 You're constantly in that battle around making sure you're negotiating. 29:49 Is everyone on the same page? 29:52 Do they agree with what you say? 29:54 I think I wrote this a couple of months ago, and now I look at it, and 30:00 it's really stupid. 30:02 It's really obvious, right? 30:03 Small teams move quickest. 30:05 I think it's kind of a bit more like this, so 30:07 it's not teams, small teams on big projects. 30:14 It's teams working on small projects, 30:18 or teams thinking about small bits of a large project. 30:20 Like if you can solve the crux of it, maybe that's the problem, 30:24 maybe that's a little piece. 30:26 If you pick pieces off and slowly build up some sort of tapestry, 30:27 you'll move a lot quicker, and by doing the first point, 30:31 where you understand the problem, you'll move quicker anyway. 30:35 This one's a bit more weird. 30:41 I mean, the whole talk was kind of around this idea of time and 30:42 it was quite abstract. 30:45 I kind of felt like the problem that we had, 30:46 this kind of news density problem needed a big, broad solution. 30:50 And we needed to accept that we were so focused on the design of the problem 30:54 that we weren't actually looking at the user's focus of this page. 30:59 We needed to take a big step back and 31:02 think about what the problem was from a non-design perspective. 31:04 Not to say that other news organizations will take this approach. 31:09 Containers, seems like some of them were doing it, I don't know. 31:12 But, yeah. 31:15 And last but not least, admit when you're wrong. 31:17 The container thing, yeah it works. 31:22 But it works after we admitted that we were implementing it in the wrong way. 31:24 We needed to look at it again. 31:28 We needed to admit that we needed to look at it again, and it was painful. 31:30 We fell out with a lot of people over the six week period. 31:34 But slowly but surely, people started coming back together, and as soon as 31:37 you got more people on your side from negotiating more, it kind of worked. 31:40 It makes it sound like it was perfect, but it wasn't. 31:46 It was really hard. 31:48 And yeah, the rest of the team have full credit on the fact that this was 31:51 an incredible job, and I was just one part of a huge process. 31:56 And there's a ton more work on this around fast and slow news journalism. 32:01 And the sort of intricacies of how those individual containers were put together. 32:05 But that's all I've got. 32:09 Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] 32:12 [MUSIC] 32:16
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