Read all about it! A clear process and intensive efforts by the strong team helped DR build three prototypes for the next version of their news app in record time

Client
DR (Danish Broadcasting Cooperation)

Project type
App design and prototyping


Numbers from DR (Danish Broadcasting Cooperation) show a consistent use of their newsfeed app. So apparently people do read news on an app, but the current solution feels outdated and does a relatively poor job in many aspects like sharing or exploring topics.

The process overview

Set the right team for the job. UX development is always a team effort.
Go from initial brief, over design and to prototype as fast as possible
Test, test and test again. Collect results, quantitative or qualitative. Evaluate.
If possible go back, and iterate based on learnings, else handover to next phases of production

The team set for this task had the ability to ideate, design, prototype, write content and perform user tests This diversity in the team secured fast iterations, and fast movement from idea to testable prototype.

From brief to designed prototypes in days
The first discussion, over coffee: What is state of the art in apps for coverage of news? What areas could be challenged or explored further? What is competition doing? What can technology do? Where is the potential for innovation that would give DR News that edge? Talk led to sketches that resulted in 3 design directions and in just a few weeks we went from idea to navigable app-prototype.

Hands on test with real users

We then showed our children to a high school class, to students from a nearby university, and a group of news user found in our network and neighborhood. Keeping it easy, fast and cheap. Furthermore, all journalists in DR had access to the prototypes and could chip in with comments and questions. Another couple of days and we had useful insights.

Handover for production

The test results were collected, and quick improvements were made within budget and deadline. No sweat and no stress, because we kept focus. Finally, the prototypes and the learnings from the test phase were handed over to the management group in the DR News organization.

From ideation and design…

Ideation is done as a team effort. Everybody chips in and discuss ideas. The key here is to focus on possible ways of solving the problem at hand. NOT to dive into details or design yet. Move fast and come up with several possible solutions.

– to functional prototype

The prototype was developed in tools that were optimized for FAST!  Only quick iterations, simple transitions, and the most basic navigation were implemented. Again the desire here is to get feedback fast and move on. Test assumptions, prove them right or wrong and go to the next step.

The complexity of the prototype we build depends on the project at hand. We support anything from hand drawn sketches, that are animated, to fully flexed prototypes, which demo advanced interaction flows or transitions.

The outcome in so little time

The DR News team now has three designs with the main learnings to move on. Design directions, prototypes with a demo of core user flows already tested with internal teams (here: journalists, editors, and stakeholders) and external readers.

Directions for the next phase of design and production can hence be sharper and grounded in real insights. This way we minimize risks and are more likely to hit a good result.

This way of work
We have long experience of doing similar projects. We prefer to stay small, fast and agile to improve the solution. The team should fit the assignment, and the schedule should keep the feeling of urge, to make us stay sharp for a short, intensive period, but still allow for a decent result, depending on the size of the project.  

Process allows for 'surprises' along the way
Towards the end of this process, the team saw the birth of a new Quartz.com app, which explored some innovative ways of news coverage. Examples like this can be used as inspiration in the process, and even change the scope, because it is still open and iterative in its form. This is an advantage to all projects, where it is imperative to keep an ongoing eye on the moves of competition.

Thanks to the team
Besides us, the team consisted of the very great people and brilliant designers Jacques Mourier and Rasmus Landgreen led by an entrepreneur, author, and many company-founder Jacob Bøtter. Journalist Anne Sofie Ellesøe and Martin Bentzen from DR represented the client side..

Get started with fast prototyping for your next project

Reach out for Creative Director Jesper Fagerlund on +45 53 62 65 60 or send him an email. Or maybe a tweet.

This process is guaranteed to be a sound investment if you are about to:

  • Develop an app
  • Perform mayor redesigns of your website
  • Work on revisions of web apps or e-commerce solutions where conversion and UX are critical to business.

Time is money, and with big production teams, complex user interaction mappings, integrations and everything else often involved, time flies fast. This process of prototyping narrows your scope so you are more confident in the process of developing the actual solution. You avoid taking big risks, as the prototypes should answer the questions:

  • Will we love it? (internal team buy in)
  • Will it work with our systems? (Tech, business or human systems)
  • Will the business love it? (Do our users/clients get it? Love it?)