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TIMELY - Time well spent with The New York Times



Time Well Spent With The New York Times


Advisor: Renda Morton (Executive Director of Product Design, The New York Times)

Team: Ke Hu, Johny Vino

Roles: research, interviews, synthesis, storyboard sketching, collaborated in prototype ideation/concept, UX/UI

Categories: product design, UX / UI, video, prototyping


"I’m not very informed about the news.  I’m interested.  I think it’s time. I don’t have a designated time besides this morning email I get where I just look at news.  Actually some of my classmates, I’ll be busy working for the next class and they’ll just be sitting with their headphones and watching or reading the news.  I wish I could do that!  Maybe time management is a major issue."

-Carly, 23



The New York Times loses users of its app due to a myriad of reasons, some of them due to competition and cost but also including the following:

  • coverage (they are unhappy about something they read)
  • life-changing event (moving)
  • lack of usage
  • content not relevant to them



Amongst the sea of news apps, many of which are free, how do we build incentives that lead to lasting habits for readers of The New York Times app that will help retain their long term loyalty?




Our solution will not require a major overhaul of the existing NYT App.  Instead, we will add a subtle and useful feature to the NYT landing page called Timely that will enable the user to receive notifications at opportune moments throughout a busy day: at breakfast, commute, before a meeting, during a coffee break or right before bed. These notifications will allow the user to open Timely to access articles that will take a short time to read and, most importantly, are catered to each users interests and habits.

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The New York Times is a storied institution with tremendous worldwide influence and global reach. Long regarded within the industry as a national "newspaper of record", The Times has also developed a reputation as one of the top innovators within web journalism, particularly for its innovations in multimedia and interactive data. In 2008, The New York Times created an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch which allowed users to download articles to their mobile device enabling them to read the paper even when they were unable to receive a signal.



A 2017 Reuters Digital News report gave us tremendous insight on the state of news consumption globally.

  • After a period of little or no growth, there has been a jump in the use of news apps in almost all countries
  • Young American are paying for news
  • Factors influencing willingness to pay are: desire to fund 'real journalism', breaking news, quality reporting on recent events, in-depth analysis, commentary
  • Apple News has helped propel growth with their Spotlight news feed and mobile alerts
  • Validity of news sources is important
  • Young people still prefer text over video news
  • Time is a major factor in the ability to read the news
  • Google Calendar is the most popular calendar followed by Outllook and Apple.