Four Lessons We Learned And Four Questions We’re Trying To Answer
With our public-but-highly selective beta launch imminent, the editorial team on #teamnewsapp is sharing what we’ve learned so far, what we’re continuing to experiment with, and what we’re still trying to figure out.
1. Treat your app audience as if you’re a polite and interesting guest in their home (screen).
"We don't want our app to abuse the privilege of being invited to interrupt your day. We want the BuzzFeed News app to be a welcome guest on your phone's home screen, rather than an app you rage delete after one too many irrelevant push notifications."
2. Think about ways to engage and inform readers without forcing them to click.
"News alerts can go beyond regurgitating headlines — and do more for readers than compel them to click through to a story because the alert didn't provide all the information it could have in the first place."
3. It can be awkward and frustrating to go through the motions of an editorial workflow without a complete product, but it can help identify problem areas and brainstorm potential features.
"Too much process can weigh on a team tasked with experimentation, but having none at all will almost always lead to more confusion."
4. Get feedback from your audience as early and often as you can, even if you have an “unfinished” product — it’ll only get better.
"The most valuable thing about this exercise was that it allowed us to avoid getting too emotionally attached to any one idea early on and to keep tweaking and adjusting the product to be better."
Speaking of feedback, we're finalizing our public beta of the BuzzFeed News app this week and would love to have you be a part of it. You'll need:
- an iPhone running at least iOS 8
- to tolerate us asking you about your thoughts frequently.
And four questions we’re trying to answer with posts to come with what we find:
- What's the balance between offering context in-stream to deliver a better experience vs optimizing for more scannable headlines?
- What is our middle ground in thinking about a "complete" experience? Does that mean a finite app stream? Or, does that just mean more user paths?
- How do we balance our task as news editors of keeping you updated on what's "important" with creating a truly useful experience?
- Are we developing tunnel vision the further we go along? How do we maintain the naïveté of when we started?