Facebook came to us with an enterprise strength search application called Signal that their developers had been working on for several months and was 90% complete, from an engineering perspective. It was slated for a quick launch and they wanted to make it “user friendly” enough for a newsroom interns to learn and use quickly. They knew they lacked the UX design portion and that’s where we came in.
Since Facebook’s application, Signal, was largely built by the time we got involved, our strategy was simple: learn how it works and give multiple iterative design improvements developers could implement quickly.
We rolled up our sleeves on day one and sat side-by-side with developers to understand the inner workings of the platform. Having a background in technology helped as we understoodthe way the databases were designed and what data drove which screens. We also dug into who the users were, how they would use the tool, and what parts of the app that were “off limits” to the redesign. Armed with what we needed to know, we sketched design ideas and created interactive prototypes, illustrating how the user experience could change with each iteration. When those design ideas were validated with user research, we redesigned the next feature of the application. In all, we streamlined features including geo-and-hashtag-based search, content curation, and how mulitple teams could collaborate.
Deliverables: sketches, wireframes, interactive prototypes
The result of our work was a successful launch that is used by news organizations worldwide. Even though the users are “behind the scenes” of the nightly news and other publications, we’re happy novices and savvier internet news sleuths alike can dive into Signal and find out what is happening in social media at any point in time, location or topic.