Forbes Best States For Business

Finding a way to promote traditional media in an online setting using new web-based design tools and reader expectations.

Project
UX/UI + Motion + Research
Roles:
Timeline:
Tools Used:
UX/UI, User Research, Motion, Visual Design (Independent)
Spring 2019
Figma, Cinema 4D, After Effects
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00 - Project Overview

Problem

Forbes has had a difficult time transitioning to the online market place and needs a solution to drive-up traffic. Forbes tasked us with finding a way to bring more readers, subscribers, and revenue to the website.

Solution

Round 1: Conducted primary research with 44 potential readers for Forbes. Gathered valuable insights that guided the intended focus of the product. This included finding what people want from a financial news website.

Round 2: Created an interactive article informed by feedback from the interviews to hit user needs. The deliverables include wireframes, high fidelity mock-ups, and motion graphics.

01 - Promt

Connecting the Bond Between the Brand of Forbes and Readers

The online world has proven to be a difficult space for established journalism to thrive. Many users only come to a news site once to read an article and then leave with no future interaction with the site being conducted. With the decreases in retention rates in traditional media profits have been significantly down. 

Forbes CEO, CFO, and a primary developer tasked us with finding a way to connect users with the Forbes website to create a stronger bond as well as get users to come back to the website on a more regular basis.

Problems and Current Strategy

Forbes still primarily focuses on the audience that they gained while being a print publication and has transitioned them onto the online sphere. The issue comes in with gaining new users. 

Solely relying on the name of Forbes and word of mouth from long term users is only getting users to visit the site but not come back. News websites live off users coming back and interacting with the site repeatedly and 70 million users only read one article and then never come back to the Forbes website.

02 - Interviews

Connecting the Bond Between the Brand of Forbes and Readers

To get a better idea of why people were not coming back I decided to conduct a public interview with 44 participants who match Forbes internal metrics for the most engaged users being readers ages 18 to 34. These are the common trends I found.

Decisions

People expect an economic news website such as Forbes to help them make informed financial decisions

Information

They find there is no compendium of useful information to refer to any topic efficiently.

Exploration

Potential readers felt there was no benefit to explore outside the article they find from a google search

Lack of Sharing

User doesn’t like sharing opinionated articles because they may lead to judgment from peers who share different beliefs. They like sharing things they find “cool and useful” on social media

Boring Display

The Forbes brand may come off as “boring and too wordy” as some users expressed repelling potential readers

Pain Points

Users find that there is not a lot of content that matches what they want from a Forbes experience. They express that there may be some information useful to them, but the act of using Forbes to help with these decisions are not in the cards.

Take-Aways

To create a web-based article application that shows users information that will help them make financially wise decisions. Create a sharable model for the output of Forbes that will bring users back to reread information while finding new subscribers.

03 - Goals

In order of importance

1:

Bring in new subscribers

2:

Retain current readers

3:

Give users information the is helpful to them

4:

Have a cool experience that you can have only on the Forbes website

04 - My Solution

To take information from a current article that can give it new life to meet the stated goals above.

I found Forbes current article “Best States For Business” to be used as the basis of my proposal for more dynamic content as it matches the goal of presenting readers information that will help them make financially-based decisions.

Mask Group

Issues with the current design

1:

It is currently just black text on a white background making it blend in with other content on the site.

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2:

All the information that is given just shows what rank a state are compared to other states by a single number.

3:

There is no information the pertains to specific aspects of each state such as businesses in the state.

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4:

There is no label saying what each number means as you scroll down the page.

City Exploration

First Idea to Create more information

My first idea was to create a 3d city that could help the user explore a state and gather information. I sketched out a few ideas and made a test animation but this idea was abandoned because I found that a US map would be a more cohesive way of framing this article.

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USA Map

Next Solution

My first idea was to create a 3d city that could help the user explore a state and gather information. I sketched out a few ideas and made a test animation but this idea was abandoned because I found that a US map would be a more cohesive way of framing this article.

05 - Visual Design

Style Board

I created 2 competing mood boards to explore a visual direction.

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I went with the Observing Takeout board because it went along with my goal of making the application more “cool” and it went with the Forbes branding better being darker and less colorful.

06 - Concluding Solution

Final Map

I further developed the style by adding shades of blue to the user interface to add depth and tie it better to the map visually.

Landing -

The first screen you see shows the reader all the states with the ones that are more recommended being a brighter color and further pushed out to emphasize the better location to start a business.

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Summery -

All the state data is separated into 5 sections to give more information while not overwhelming a user.

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General -

This page gives the trajectory of the states growth in both populations as well as GDP to see where a state has been and where it is going.

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Jobs -

Rates of growth are complemented by specific data of where it is highest in the state.

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Housing -

The average county housing price and wages help job creators figure out how much labour may cost.

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Workers -

Additional information about the density of unions gives a better idea to employers about what is expected.

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Companies -

The final piece of data shows the biggest companies in the state and where they are located.

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07 - Closing Thoughts

Gains

This project was a great opportunity to practice combining my skills in motion graphics and user experience. It was fun learning how these 2 skills can work together to make a better designed product.

Challenges

Working with Data

It was a slow process to find trends in my interviews and what should be ignored. This project taught me to better examine metrics.

Learning the Client

It took a good amount of time and patients to learn what Forbes had to offer and what could be improved based on my research. This project taught me how to research a client even better.

Presenting

It was a learning process to best present my ideas to the client as it was CEO, CFO of the company. They ask you how your changes would affect the rest of the site and how this would lead to increased company profits.

If I Had More Time

Mobile

I would have made a mobile version of my design as many younger users only use their phone to read the news.