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UX Week 2007: CNN.com Relaunch Case Study

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CNN.com Relaunch:
  Case Study


   Lori Adams
   Dermot Waters




AUGUST 2007
Why Relaunch?

 Purpose Statement
   Relaunch CNN.com to give the user a more compelling and useful
   destination for news on the Web, utilizing any new technologies,
   presentation models and business opportunities to improve or advance
   the experience

 But Really, Why?
 • Last major redesign was in 2002
 • New technologies coming out that were at our disposal; Core
   functionality and structure of the site based on 1998 technology
 • Lots to “clean up”
 • New competitors had emerged and with them competing internal
   theories on what direction the site should take
 • Momentum
 • Our boss asked us to
Where to Start?

 Process Definition
 • Defined the steps – wrote a 11-step process document

 • Reached out for internal/external
   help
    • Partnered with Adaptive Path
    • Teamed up with our Internal
      Research team
    • Divided and conquered research
      deliverables
Discovery

 • Internal Discovery

 • Competitive Analysis

 • Persona Development

 • User Survey

 • User Behavior Data

 • Technology Landscape
Directional Statement

 1. Define a new standard for the online news experience

 2. Present a unified, comprehensive view of the scope of CNN's brand
    offerings

 3. Focus on content that aligns with user behavior

 4. Connect users with content personally relevant to them

 5. Maximize the value of CNN's human perspective, assets, and
    expertise

 6. Improve the productivity, agility, and flexibility of CNN.com
Working Groups

 • 8 working groups
 • Assigned “mandates” including tasks and deliverables
 • Got input from 65+ staff members across the company
 • Formalized output into outcomes documentation
 • Shared outcomes across all groups in CNN and Turner
 • Applied scope reconciliation and distilled outcomes into core
  feature set
Ad

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UX Week 2007: CNN.com Relaunch Case Study

  • 1. CNN.com Relaunch: Case Study Lori Adams Dermot Waters AUGUST 2007
  • 2. Why Relaunch? Purpose Statement Relaunch CNN.com to give the user a more compelling and useful destination for news on the Web, utilizing any new technologies, presentation models and business opportunities to improve or advance the experience But Really, Why? • Last major redesign was in 2002 • New technologies coming out that were at our disposal; Core functionality and structure of the site based on 1998 technology • Lots to “clean up” • New competitors had emerged and with them competing internal theories on what direction the site should take • Momentum • Our boss asked us to
  • 3. Where to Start? Process Definition • Defined the steps – wrote a 11-step process document • Reached out for internal/external help • Partnered with Adaptive Path • Teamed up with our Internal Research team • Divided and conquered research deliverables
  • 4. Discovery • Internal Discovery • Competitive Analysis • Persona Development • User Survey • User Behavior Data • Technology Landscape
  • 5. Directional Statement 1. Define a new standard for the online news experience 2. Present a unified, comprehensive view of the scope of CNN's brand offerings 3. Focus on content that aligns with user behavior 4. Connect users with content personally relevant to them 5. Maximize the value of CNN's human perspective, assets, and expertise 6. Improve the productivity, agility, and flexibility of CNN.com
  • 6. Working Groups • 8 working groups • Assigned “mandates” including tasks and deliverables • Got input from 65+ staff members across the company • Formalized output into outcomes documentation • Shared outcomes across all groups in CNN and Turner • Applied scope reconciliation and distilled outcomes into core feature set
  • 14. Prototypes and Design Iterations • Created a conceptual prototype to test in lab setting Discovered key findings about ad models, user acceptance of storytelling models, and more
  • 15. Prototypes and Design Iterations • When design was complete, applied visual layer to prototype • Design agency refined design based upon outcomes
  • 17. Implementation • Implementation challenges of “Chicken and Egg” scenarios between requirements, development, and dates • Solution: Picked our dates. Made a schedule working back from a launch date • Refined schedule and process to include ALL aspects of the project including stakeholder reviews, time to make changes after reviews, etc. • Set a train in motion for folks to jump on
  • 18. Next Step - Moved Out! • Team was sequestered; “Relaunch Protection Program” began
  • 19. Site Specifications • Used Wiki-style tool for requirements – a HUGE success • Eventually moved requirements into a ticketing system
  • 20. CNN.com Beta Beta Goals • Assessment of user behavior & traffic patterns • Obtain user feedback • Resolve bugs • Surface workflow issues • Test all content scenarios • Load & platform testing to see how new services performed • Library of some content types • Test of ad functionality Internal Beta • CNN Worldwide President sent out company-wide note inviting staff to view beta • Collected feedback, fixed bugs based upon this roll out Public Beta • Rolled beta out to public • Created/launched site tour and “behind the scenes” blog • Obtained user feedback and tweaked presentation accordingly
  • 21. Beta Feedback Study • 3 stages of feedback • Baseline • Beta • Post-launch
  • 22. Launch • Used July 4 weekend to our advantage • Not as scary as had thought, due to beta period • Continued collection of user feedback • Still working on post-launch tickets
  • 23. Recap: User Involvement Discovery Phase Beta • User Survey • Beta Comment Cards • Qualitative Interviews • Behind the Scenes Blog • Persona Development • Traffic Analysis Post-Launch • Post-Launch Comment Cards Conceptual Prototype Phase • Behind the Scenes Blog • Usability Testing Round 1 • Continued Informal Testing • Traffic Analysis Visual Prototype • Usability Testing Round 2 More to Come… Pre-Beta Phase • Baseline Comment Cards
  • 24. Why We’ll Never Do this Again • Set up of agile processes • Staff and momentum in place to stay moving forward • Will continue to release “relaunch” features that were not in the first release in phased batches • State of constant relaunch
  • 25. CNN.com Relaunch: Case Study Lori Adams Dermot Waters AUGUST 2007