A mobile fact-checking experience that targets the source of fake news before it exponentially spreads to the general public, to help NPR gain potential young listeners by leveraging their existing digital touchpoints.
A 4-week academic case study for a senior interaction design course at Simon Fraser University.
Michael Lo, Sabrina Ng, Charmaine Wu, Sonia Yau
UX/UI Design, Interaction Design, Visual Design, Digital Prototyping
NPR's lack of digital innovation lead to the company's inability to attract a younger demographic, despite the launch of their podcasting mobile app, NPR One.
After continuously reframing and reiterating our concept, we attained the purpose to combat the rise of fake news in media. With fake news spreading across the web through social media, we found value in challenging the potential post-truth era.
To begin, we asked ourselves, how might we define fake news, how does fake news spread, and how might we stop them from spreading? As we acknowledged that it is almost impossible for us to eliminate the creation of fake news, we chose to create a solution that will act as a filter following the initial engagement in order to alleviate the impact.
With NPR's journalistic credibility and its existing fact check section on their website, we saw an opportunity for NPR to challenge this social problem in addition to dealing with their business problem.
In addition to streamlining NPR's existing digital products with our proposed fact check section, we aimed to redefine the traditional concept of digital fact checking in order to help individuals become critical members of society.
By streamlining NPR's existing products, we were able to allow users to shift through different tabs with the application of NPR's audio expertise.
We chose to leverage audio since we saw a cultural trend in the tech industry pushing voice control in products such as Google Home or Amazon Echo. We believe the integration of audio will play a large role in digital innovation through various medium.
On the fact check feed, we framed each headline to evoke users' curiosity, as well as chunking traditionally heavy news articles into summarized audio segments in order to reduce cognitive overhead.
We emphasized the call to action by visually presenting the dissemination of fake news in comparison to NPR's fact checked piece. With this, we increase perceived value for the people on social media, also allowing users to listen to audio segments natively in platforms such as Twitter.
As stated earlier, we implemented audio throughout the app as we didn't want content presented like a regular news article. By offering the option to add each annotated audio segments to their queue, users can listen through the annotated sections continuously like a playlist.
With NPR's non-partisan standpoint, the tone of each annotations provided by NPR editors were a crucial factor to spread factually correct information. These annotated sections allowed us to reduce cognitive overhead by not having to read lengthy articles, and improve NPR's credibility, as people are more likely to trust individual experts rather than institutions.
After reading an annotation, users can transition to NPR News or NPR One by going through related articles and podcasts. Again, it was by leveraging NPR's audio expertise that allowed for a comprehensive solution, connecting each touchpoint.
On NPR One, we proposed a new approach to solve the sector wide problem of sharing audio, by allowing users to pick a specific segment within the podcast to share on social media.
This project allowed us to explore the field of Experience Design in a larger scale to not only design for commercial values but social values as well. As public perception continues to shift due to our growing digital environment, we must make sure it isn't heading towards the wrong direction.
One of the key ideas we kept throughout the process was to leverage audio. People are addicted to time. People are drawn to products or services which allow them to get tasks done faster, thus I believe audio and voice will play an integral role in digital innovation. Audio holds the ability to reduce cognitive overhead in a different way, as it is the simplest and fastest way to deliver content. It will be interesting where the integration of voice in technology will take us since it is a quality that is already within us.