How The Guardian used UX to create their responsive design
A highlight of day one of this week's Future of Web Design conference in London was a session by The Guardian's Senior UX Architect Chris Clarke.
The Guardian has long been held in high regard for it's forward thinking and approach to design and UX challenges. Chris Clarke has played a key role in its development over the last few years and he talked about how they discovered that time was the key metric in understanding how the user interacts with their content.
Their initial design approach to take a page of content and make it responsive was met with negative user feedback both internally and externally. He was open with the audience to say they had to admit that their initial assumptions where wrong.
To tackle this they revised their approach to form a small responsive team where they focused on information density and understanding of their user consumption habits. Putting personas against a news agenda can be difficult, and rather, it depends much more on the mode of consumption.
They split these personas into three areas: Commute, where a user wants a quick update on what's happening at that moment; Work where they extend their knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of a specific story and Home where they want to discover something new about the topics they are interesting in. With time spent in each of these areas being markedly different and they used this as alongside density of page content to drive their responsive designs.
He summed up this thinking into a handy formula for the Consumption of content where a user's satisfaction of a page equals perceived time and effort they expect to spend plus presentation and variety of content.
Designers he said had to take the time to understand the problem they were addressing and make sure they negotiate with other stakeholders before during and after the process. They need to be open to admitting their mistakes.
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The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was known from 1821 until 1959 as the Manchester Guardian. Along with its sister papers The Observer and the Guardian Weekly, The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust.Find out more