Fault lines of user experience:
The intersection of business and
design

Patricia Hallstein
Vice President, Customer Exper...
Customer experience at Economist.com
Some background to anchor the perspective I can contribute to
the conversation
 The ...
The Economist newspaper

CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 3
About The Economist

The Economist was founded in 1843 to “take part in
a severe contest between intelligence, which press...
Economist readers are
intellectually curious,
opinionated and
influential.
They think and act globally.
They thrive on ide...
90%

of subscribers
consider The
Economist to be
essential weekly
reading

76%

say The Economist
is their favorite public...
Thousands post pictures of
themselves, friends, family, even
pets on flickr.com

Die hard fans share videos of
themselves ...
Fans volunteer to translate The Economist

 Eco Team translates every article as soon as an issue hits the stands

 Eco ...
Readers meet up and gather online on
Facebook
MeetUp groups
 Run by fans
Facebook
 More than 90,000 fans
 One official ...
The Economist is growing in every corner of
the globe
July-Dec 2008

Worldwide

1,390,780

% change
vs . July-Dec 2007

+6...
Circulation and newsstand growth (US)

C ULAT N change 07-08
IRC
IO
9.2%

The
Economist
Fortune

Source: ABC Dec 2008

For...
Engagement (US)
Read 4 out
of 4 issues

Minutes
spent with
each Issue

Magazine Is
“one of my
favorites”

The Economist

5...
Economist.com

CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 13
Economist.com
Was run on a small budget and minimal crew since dotcom

crash in 2001.
Now a key area of investment for the...
Economist.com mission

Economist.com wants to become “the foremost destination
for analyzing and debating the global agend...
Building a customer experience practice
I joined a new Economist.com leadership team in July 2007,

to start a user experi...
Defining the Economist.com
strategy
CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 17
Mission: Pursue the
“severe contest” online

Vision: The Economist online is the foremost destination for analysing and de...
“Quick Win” project

Proving value and
establishing UX process
CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | p...
Homepage and navigation before

CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 20
Key players
Editorial leadership

Sales
Circulation marketing

CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | p...
Introducing user-centered process
Creative, iterative, user-centered

Solution:

Research:

Strategize

Understand
busines...
Homepage and navigation after

CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 23
Key results
Exceeded expectations in traffic growth:

 Page views per visit in May jumped from 3.3 to 3.6,
contributing 1...
What made it successful
Research and strategy phases

 Extensive stakeholder interviews
Design phase
 Frequent reviews w...
Where we stand

Status quo

CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 26
Becoming a customer-centered
organization: Successes so far
Customer focus is part of the high-level strategy for

Economi...
Lessons learned
What worked

 Learning to speak the language of the environment and to
address key stakeholders’ goals, i...
Current challenges

Introducing Scrum

CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 29
Current challenge: Tactical focus through
Scrum
Introducing Scrum created a tactical focus for the

organisation
 Moving ...
Scrum process flow focused on development
phase

CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 31
Scrum process flow and user-centred
design?

“Sprint 0”
pre-work

Understand target
audience (personae)
- goals, needs,
be...
Re-establishing a strategic role for CX
 Focusing on establishing and spreading customer insights to

empower scrum teams...
Thank you

CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 34
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2009 CHI Panel | Fault lines of user experience: The intersection of business and design

  1. 1. Fault lines of user experience: The intersection of business and design Patricia Hallstein Vice President, Customer Experience, Economist.com 9 April 2009 CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 1
  2. 2. Customer experience at Economist.com Some background to anchor the perspective I can contribute to the conversation  The Economist is a small company and a publication with a long history and a big global influence  I joined the Economist.com business unit as VP of Customer Experience in July 2007 to build a user experience practice and team  Economist.com has very ambitious growth goals both in terms of key numbers (web stats, contribution to the Economist Group) and in terms of creating a fundamentally different digital product  Economist.com is currently transitioning to Agile/Scrum CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 2
  3. 3. The Economist newspaper CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 3
  4. 4. About The Economist The Economist was founded in 1843 to “take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress."  Attracting a global readership, generally passionate about The Economist and very engaged with the brand  Growing while the news publishing industry is in decline CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 4
  5. 5. Economist readers are intellectually curious, opinionated and influential. They think and act globally. They thrive on ideas, and come to us for ideas and inspiration. CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 5
  6. 6. 90% of subscribers consider The Economist to be essential weekly reading 76% say The Economist is their favorite publication 63% read advertisements Source: Affinity Vista; Ipsos-Economist 2007 Subscriber Study CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 6
  7. 7. Thousands post pictures of themselves, friends, family, even pets on flickr.com Die hard fans share videos of themselves reading articles aloud on YouTube CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 7
  8. 8. Fans volunteer to translate The Economist  Eco Team translates every article as soon as an issue hits the stands  Eco PDF Team bundles up finished translations into Eco Weekly, a bi-weekly PDF with two complete issues for forum members to enjoy and share  nytimes.com/2009/03/02/business/media/02economist.html  ecocn.org/bbs/ CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 8
  9. 9. Readers meet up and gather online on Facebook MeetUp groups  Run by fans Facebook  More than 90,000 fans  One official and many independent groups, e.g. • SIR - I am rather fond of your publication The Economist 15,875 members • The Economist is my Bible! 73 members • I love the covers of The Economist 125 members CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 9
  10. 10. The Economist is growing in every corner of the globe July-Dec 2008 Worldwide 1,390,780 % change vs . July-Dec 2007 +6.4% North America 786,977 +9% Asia-Pacific 133,846 +5% United Kingdom 186,995 +3% Latin America 15,651 +3% Continental Europe 239,152 +2% Middle East/Africa 28,159 +1% Source: ABC Dec 2008 CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 10
  11. 11. Circulation and newsstand growth (US) C ULAT N change 07-08 IRC IO 9.2% The Economist Fortune Source: ABC Dec 2008 Forbes 10.9% The Economist Fortune 0.7% Business 0.2% Week -1.3% NEWSST AND change 07-08 -9.3% -13.4% 2.9% Business Week Forbes CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 11
  12. 12. Engagement (US) Read 4 out of 4 issues Minutes spent with each Issue Magazine Is “one of my favorites” The Economist 53% 56 41% BusinessWeek 33% 35 16% Forbes 32% 37 17% Fortune 33% 39 16% Source: ABC Dec 08 CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 12
  13. 13. Economist.com CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 13
  14. 14. Economist.com Was run on a small budget and minimal crew since dotcom crash in 2001. Now a key area of investment for the Economist Group. Big challenge for the business unit overall: Design a digital presence for The Economist that is as meaningful to the world and would be missed as much if it disappeared as the newspaper. CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 14
  15. 15. Economist.com mission Economist.com wants to become “the foremost destination for analyzing and debating the global agenda.” This clearly calls for a customer-focused approach on a strategic level. CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 15
  16. 16. Building a customer experience practice I joined a new Economist.com leadership team in July 2007, to start a user experience practice—objectives:  Create a customer-focused organization  Build a team Agreed strategy and process  Established at strategic level  Start with small budget, prove value to business, editorial, readers with key project  Build customer insights program and introduce user-centered process CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 16
  17. 17. Defining the Economist.com strategy CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 17
  18. 18. Mission: Pursue the “severe contest” online Vision: The Economist online is the foremost destination for analysing and debating the global agenda. It draws on the intelligence of journalists, readers and guest contributors V1 I value The Economist online as the premier destination for debating the global agenda F1 Ensure our sustainability by dramatically growing profit and revenue F3 Increase operational efficiency F5 Grow network of on-brand contributors Brand Benefits to Economist For readers A1 I learn or discover something new A2 I gain a deeper understanding A3 I am able to connect with other "ideas" people A4 I have a forum to put forward and test my ideas A5 I am inspired to act F2 Grow client base F4 Grow and retain on-brand target audience For ad clients Finance C1 I reach my desired audience C2 I get results from a unique programme C3 I get a premium service Value Proposition P1 Community development and management P2 Content publishing P3 Guest writer management P4 Reader services Process P9 Integrate print and web editorial departments L1 Get better at strategic change management L2 Identify & fill or develop strategic job roles Learning and Growth P5 Ad, sales and campaign management P8 On-brand reader acquisition P6 Product innovation and lifecycle management L3 Align organisation with strategy P7 Gain and maintain customer insight L7 Establish user –centred design and development capability L4 Stakeholder alignment and internal brand management 18 L5 Establish a culture of excellence L6 Integrate technology with business strategy L8 Develop editorial curation skills Version 17 CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 18
  19. 19. “Quick Win” project Proving value and establishing UX process CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 19
  20. 20. Homepage and navigation before CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 20
  21. 21. Key players Editorial leadership Sales Circulation marketing CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 21
  22. 22. Introducing user-centered process Creative, iterative, user-centered Solution: Research: Strategize Understand business objectives user goals Design Develop Measure User insights (ideally personas & scenarios) Interaction: getting around, engaging with content and others 1. Prototypes Usability 2. Beta Satisfaction 3. Final Engagement Solution plan solution Products & features ROI Visual design: Typography Images Colour technology constraints & opportunities CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 22
  23. 23. Homepage and navigation after CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 23
  24. 24. Key results Exceeded expectations in traffic growth:  Page views per visit in May jumped from 3.3 to 3.6, contributing 1.2m new monthly page views  Daily averages jumped after launch:* • Page views increased by 18% • Average pages per visit increased by 16% • Number of unique users increased by 2% Intangible results:  Sense of accomplishment for all stakeholders  Buy-in to user-centred process *Mon through Thur traffic following the launch, compared against the daily average 6 weeks Mon through Thu prior to launch. CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 24
  25. 25. What made it successful Research and strategy phases  Extensive stakeholder interviews Design phase  Frequent reviews with stakeholders and editorial  Long, iterative design phase Development phase  Rapid, iterative user testing and interface progression (3 days) CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 25
  26. 26. Where we stand Status quo CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 26
  27. 27. Becoming a customer-centered organization: Successes so far Customer focus is part of the high-level strategy for Economist.com Established customer focus for the organization  Established user experience process  Established a customer insights program  Developed and introduced personae (target audience segments) and user value propositions Proved value and established trust with three major stakeholders— editorial, circulation marketing, ad sales CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 27
  28. 28. Lessons learned What worked  Learning to speak the language of the environment and to address key stakeholders’ goals, in our case: • Editorial: original mission, journalistic ethos • Circulation marketing and sales: need to meet their numbers • Business overall: ROI, “blue ocean” strategy  First, prove value in a meaningful case  Then, focus on customer insights that allow people to draw their own conclusions What did not work  Getting bogged down for a while in too many individual initiatives and projects CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 28
  29. 29. Current challenges Introducing Scrum CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 29
  30. 30. Current challenge: Tactical focus through Scrum Introducing Scrum created a tactical focus for the organisation  Moving the site to a new platform in parallel scrums required the CX team to focus on streamlining design • addressed by creating a digital design framework  Introduction of Agile (Scrum) project management “by the book” re-enforced a strong tactical focus and a strong focus on technology CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 30
  31. 31. Scrum process flow focused on development phase CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 31
  32. 32. Scrum process flow and user-centred design? “Sprint 0” pre-work Understand target audience (personae) - goals, needs, behaviours. - adoption challenges and opportunities Define user tasks and intents (scenarios) Competitive analysis – generate ideas Write and apply CX prioritization for stories Begin user modelling where needed Apply best practices to design Continue user modelling Iterate and review Validate with users Validate with users CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 32
  33. 33. Re-establishing a strategic role for CX  Focusing on establishing and spreading customer insights to empower scrum teams • Introducing personae, scenarios, task flows  Influencing how Scrum is established in the organisation • Engaging in enterprise transition to scrum • Influencing how backlogs are written • Introducing “sprint 0” • Working on establishing a mid-term customer-focused visioning and planning process outside Scrum CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 33
  34. 34. Thank you CHI 2009| Fault Lines of User Experience | 8 April 2009 | page 34

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