Rio “Central” 2016

Our phones are full of news aggregator applications, ranging from Twitter, Google news, Instagram, Buzzfeed and so many more. Twitter for social media, Facebook for friends, New York Times for news, Buzzfeed for comical mindless articles…you get the point. We all experiences the frustration of navigating from app to app on to get the news content.

Lightbulb on! Yes, this situation presents a problem and an opportunity: aggregate news contents from different sources and place it in one central repository.

The approaching Rio 2016 Olympics is a good fit for this idea. Instead of information from NBC and news apps, pictures and videos taken by attendants, athletes and aggregated news content can live in one application.

So here comes the application — Ri0 Central 2016.

As a team of three UX designers in Project 4, (Nick Kuo and Anders Lundeen), we created the Rio 2016 over the course of 2 weeks. We started with our initial problem statement: 
People cannot get their user generated news in one place.

Research Plan

We sent out a survey and interviewed people, our questions were around frustration using aggregator applications, what is memorable about Olympic or sports events, how they communicate about the events, and what content they want from the news.


From the survey, it shows that most people use the phone to communicate and read about sports. This leads us to decide on creating a native app solution.

Survey Interview for what platform used to communicate

We collected the data from the interview and we created 2 personas

1 Victoria is a college student that uses news aggregators and prefers virtual images rather than words. She wants to feel she is in Rio with live feeds of the events.

2 Alex loves sports and is a supporter for 2 countries: Korea and America. He is very selective about his sports.

We also conducted competitive/comparative analyses of other news aggregator apps. All the apps use pictures to attract the readers and the social network aggregators make use of social links and emoticons to encourage interaction.

Comparative Analysis
Lemer Usability Test and Feature Comparison

With the information from affinity mapping and using MoSCoW,

we narrowed out MVP to:

An iphone app which can aggregate media feeds pull from social networks, and deliver content, and organize it based on learned user interests. It places the user “in” the olympic environment by providing an interactive map of venues and events.

MoSCoW and Affinity Mapping

Tech Check

Since we were planning to aggregate from a variety social sites, we had to check that they had APIs available to aggregate their information. For Instagram, on Line 11 in API below, we know that we can aggregate photos and videos but have to comply with owner’s requirements. This process was done for all other news aggregators that we needed.

Instagram API: Line 11

Wireframes, User Testing & Iterations

As a team we started our design studio steps, ideating to get a basic layout. We each had a round of designing and finally came up with a paper prototype to do our first user testing. We made sure to keep the list of features to make sure we stayed in our designs. Through a lot of user testing and iteration, we made a lot of improvements. Our biggest challenge was the map screen.

Below are few of the findings and changes:

Key findings on the custom My Feed screen:
. Tester didn’t care for album option.
. Want the interface to be more interactive.
. Better engagement with buttons.

For our Venue Screen, during low fidelity, users did not mention that the layout was a problem. Everything was in grey boxes. However, once content were added in, we got a lot of opinions. It mades us realize that we were so focused on layout that we forget about what content user wants to see and experience.

Key findings on the custom Venue display screen:
. Want content that feels current and not like a traditional newspaper. 
. Present organization feels more like a click-bait and not live user generated content.

Iteration of MAP

As for the map, we started with too much information on one screen. No one understood what to do about it. A lot of icons were taken out and resulting in a much cleaner appearance. An upcoming schedule of events were added based on tester’s feedback.

The Map Screen

Next Steps

Creating an app with a map that is interactive is a big challenge, especially one that doesn’t look like a map from Google Map.

Some next steps for this app are:

  • Improving users capability to store news feed.
  • Improving or changing the images and icons on the map.
  • Providing a more interactive interface on upcoming event menu.
  • Providing a more interactive interface on upcoming event.

All in all, designing this app for Rio 2016 demonstrates that user studies are important in all phases of the project. The drawback is that it takes time and energy. However, the result is usually a better application.

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