SNDMakes Austin was a two and a half day prototyping event, with the challenge of addressing audience engagement in the news room. Lacking any dedicated user research to work with, my team decided to make a tool for our internal newsroom editors, whom we already knew well. We ideated together, writing down what we’d heard our colleagues say, and decided their major pain point was the sheer quantity of information; even with current social media tools, folks simply can’t respond to every comment, Tweet, Facebook remark, and emails, and need ways to focus on meaningful engagement.
We called our tool “No ‘Thanks, Obama!'” because our goal was to filter out unhelpful “Thanks, Obama!” type comments that muddy up social streams. Our prototype gathered information from different social outlets, including Twitter, Facebook, and email; put it in one place; and helped editors sort through the noise with a filtering UI:
(The “score” was an ambitious nice-to-have, meaning that an algorithm might help spot important or helpful comments.)
We also added buttons to individual items in the interface, allowing the editors to respond without having to click through to another interface. They could also mark something as read, and flag offensive comments.
We had the chance to do a little ad hoc user testing because Vox’s social media editor was at the event; she was very enthusiastic. I also pinged the Texas Tribune’s comments moderator, who liked the idea a lot.
And okay, I have to brag a little bit: Chris Coyier was there, and because he’s the nicest SVG guru alive, he made us this cool (if somewhat distracting) GIF: