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Every human being has a different relationship with the news media. Passersby people most probably visit a news app or website after coming across social media posts. Regulars have more strict preferences in terms of how they like following the news. They make periodic visits to apps or websites to keep an eye on what’s going on. And news junkies are composed of the people who hear the most recent news first. They also play a huge role in its distribution through social channels.
However, regardless of these differences, COVID-19 Pandemic changed each individual’s relationship with news worldwide. Starting in 2020, mobile users found themselves spending copious amounts of time within news apps. According to the Sensor Tower report, news category downloads have grown by 86.7% (comparing the 30 days following countries’ 200th confirmed case of COVID-19 vs. the prior 30. Data is aggregated for China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, the U.S., and Great Britain). Some news apps, such as News Break, SmartNews, and Washington Post, have performed well during the pandemic.
Daily Active User (DAU) numbers surged along with downloads in accordance with consumer appetite for news. And now is time to maintain this intensifying connection with a sea of new users. At this point, apart from providing credible news, providing a seamless user experience (UX) is essential for news app user engagement. And UX is simply about improving the experience of users during their time using your news app.
UX managers should remember that almost one of every four users doesn’t come back to an app after their first use. In other words, first impressions last. Complex and long onboarding sessions might cause users to slip away.
By making your app with more familiar features and elements, you can decrease the onboarding time. As well as familiar icons, symbols, buttons, or colors, you can also use features and formats that users are already familiar with from other apps. One of the best examples of these formats is stories. You can use stories to save time in educating users during the onboarding stage.
Ads are another common user experience complaint. Niesen Norman Group reported an ad dislike after conducting a survey. Although native ads placed in users’ news feeds create a relatively better experience than pop-up ads, they visually take up too much valuable screen real estate.
Adding native ads among stories is very convenient to sprinkle ads in your content with a smooth flow. Hence, the story form of monetization can improve news app UX.
No one wants to miss important news just because their news feed trails off into the millions. Users need a better experience with the organization of news while still having access to a wide array of content. Thus, having organized, short, and summarized content is a must for news apps UX.
Stories are helpful when it comes to adding short, summary-like news that also enables users to grasp the topic easily. You can use stories to place journalistic storytelling or live news to create a more visually appealing experience. Essentially, the story format eases the news consumption pain points of users.
Having a two-way dialogue is essential for news apps as much as for any other app. Two-way communication naturally requires at the basic level, some form of engagement of the user. BBC’s “What has President Trump said about your country?” content, where users can select their countries, pushed them to interact with the content.
Creating interactive content to develop communication without diminishing the user experience might be challenging. However, with an already educated user base who are familiar with stories and who knows how to interact via them, it is not a nightmare. Allowing users to engage with the app and socialize with other users by comments or other reactions not only increases the value they are taking from your app but also provides you with relevant data coming straight from your users. A good way to use this data is to make your app more customized, eventually leading to a better user experience.
Competition doesn’t seem to be decreasing. Standing out among your news app competitors and keeping the existing user base happy might place a heavy burden on UX managers. You may need improvements with the onboarding process, ad placement, organization of content, or creating two-way communication with your user base. However, fear not! Adopting the existing technologies to bring a familiar, comfortable, and creative experience is possible with stories. Check out how your news app can benefit from Storyly.