News Personalization

Project Brief

Consuming news on the go is a relatively new phenomenon with the only parallel in history being portable transistors. The other difference is that news is today being pulled rather than being pushed. The user today wants news to be customized heavily. Moreover, Google is an aggregator of content. We thus have limited flexibility to edit and present content. This project is an attempt to identify patterns in a news story as well as understand the news personalization needs of a user with time.

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Tags

News, Customization, Aggregator, Personalisation, Tablet

Summary

Enhancing the experience of consuming news on the move.

What is news ?

The Oxford dictionary describes news as “a report of recent events or previously unknown information.” News must be current, and it must mean something to people. The objective is to inform people and tell them what’s going on in their community - locally, nationally or globally. However, a lot of the things that happen in the world every day do not find their way into the newspaper or onto the air in a newscast. So what makes a story newsworthy enough to be published or broadcast?

    The below attributes determine the ‘newsworthiness of an event:

  • Proximity: The news should be relevant to the geographic location or regions of interest a reader is in.
  • Timeliness: The delay between the occurrence of an event and the reporting should be minimum.
  • Suspense: News episodes have an element of uncertainty and the reader is curious to know what would happen next.
  • Authenticity: The credibility of the source.
  • Conflict: The article expresses multiple viewpoints or it is about people with opposing opinions
  • Unusual: The article is unexpected in its kind and it surprises the reader
  • Emotions: Does the article trigger a feeling of anger, joy, sadness
  • Consequence: The outcome of the article affects the reader
  • Magnitude:The scale at which an event occurs
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Research Analysis

20 users with varied profiles in their age, regularity of consumption, gender, motivation and interests were interviewed. The similarity in their behavior (in terms of news consumption) was seen dominant as their ‘frequency of consumption’ varied. It was relatively less dependent on their age.However, to start with users were divided into 5 buckets.

  • 15-21 years (school/ college-going)
  • 22- 32 years (working bachelors)
  • 33- 40 years (married with children)
  • 41- 55 years (well settled)
  • 55 years above (retirement)
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    As these users showed similar traits across the above 5 groups, they were further re-structured into :

  • Beginner ( motivation: time pass)
  • Casual reader (motivation: have started working, exam, General Knowledge, motivation: want to be updated but all consider consuming news as a social obligation in a democracy)
  • Compulsive readers (motivation want to be updated with latest happenings)
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Various triggers due to which you consume news were identified:

    Push mechanism/ User is fed news :

  • A fellow passenger on a train informs you about a strike and then you check the news.
  • You get cricket updates on your phone

    Pull mechanism/ User takes an effort to reach out to news :

  • You buy a newspaper because you want to read it
  • You change your settings on your online news portal to receive filtered updates

Final Mockups

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