The original TexasTribune.com site had been built in 2009 without any user research whatsoever. in 2015 I did research to kick off the redesign of the article page, which was our starting point for a redesign of the entire site.
Methods and Roles
User research interviews, analytics, content strategy
Using Google analytics I got some basic information about user demographics, as well as creating heat maps to show engagement with elements of the with the current article page. Combining that with third-party research from the Engaging News Project and older focus group data, we were able to segment users. We found that the majority of our return visitors were what we called “power users,” who tended to be older.
On of our goals for the redesign was to engage with a younger demographic, and so I conducted user interviews with students during the 2015 Texas Tribune Festival. The interviews revealed a strong need to showcasing engaging content at the top, especially article summaries, compelling images, and relevant sharing options.
The new page was rolled out gradually in October and November of 2016, and showed an increase in social shares, donation clicks, and engagement with comments.