With 10 years of experience in User Experience Design for mobile platforms, I've produced a wealth of products for big media companies to small start-ups.
This page looks a bit crappy right now. I'm working on it.
In the beginning of 2017, I was asked to reimagine the digital PDF newspaper app of De Volkskrant for smartphones and tablet. I teamed up with their Art Director and we set out to ideate, design and prototype this new reading experience during weekly design sprints. The goal was to design a product that had the renown but also abstract "paper-y" feeling; a thing many people love about newspapers.
The goal for the product was to reduce churn in a specific target group while also trying to attract new subscribers.
By doing qualitive user research, testing our own prototypes, current news apps and copies of newspapers, we learned that the "paper-y" feeling didn't only come from touching the material. A couple of key findings from the target group:
After a few of months of research, creating wireframes, designs, prototypes, user tests and strategy adjustments, the talented developers of Q42 started building the app during bi-weekly sprints. We continued to shave and improve the product until we launched a tablet app that had the "paper-y" feeling the target group wants and provided the editors with a way to express each page in their own unique way.
In the months after launch, we saw the following results:
De Volkskrant and it's publisher, De Persgroep, are extremely happy with these results. The increase in customer loyalty, average time spent and increase in active subscriber base are things to be proud of. It's not yet clear if this product eventually will help reduce the churn. Despite that, De Persgroep believes so much in this concept that it decided to whitelabel the product to try it out on different news brands like Het Parool and Trouw. My own main take-away from this project is that good enough is the enemy of perfection, but perfection is the enemy of progress. There is a time for both.
MyChannels (formely known as MakersChannel) is a startup acquired by De Persgroep in 2017.
This project was a very political one. I learned a lot managing large groups of stakeholders with conflicting goals. Navigating between them was difficult and it was hard to keep the team happy.
We built the fasted news website for the brand with the slowest news that requires no hands on deck.
In 2016 Trouw had a non-responsive website and a native app that was hemorrhaging money. The editorial team was also a skeleton staff and keeping their platforms fresh with new articles was a painful slow and manual process. They needed a new online strategy to answer the increasing mobile traffic while also reduce the workload for the team. Being journalists, they prefer to spend time writing articles.
Carsom was a new initiative by Autotrack that aimed to make car maintenance more transparant by letting users compare quotes from nearby car mechanics. I got on board as a Product Owner and UX Designer to improve the user experience. It was a small team which allowed me to do a lot of different things. At Carsom I worked close with an external development team to reduce the legacy that kept Carsom from innovating. I redesigned flows to increase quote requests and designed a platform for dealers and car mechanics to automatically answer quote requests with detailed price and part information. We were able to do this by combining numerous data feeds.
Ever since Carsom launched in 2012, the car industry was changing in a high pace. This made it hard to get the full commitment of partners to further develop Carsom and create more value for our users. We learned some hard lessons. With the loss of some strategic partners due to acquisitions, we didn't reach a critical mass in time to become selfsustainable. I left in 2014 to pursue a full User Experience Design career and the team eventually managed to sell Carsom to Bosch Car Service.
Besides my main projects, I frequently help brands out with smaller projects. I do these side projects to learn new things or just because I think it should be done.
Autotrack reached out to me when they wanted to rethink their mobile strategy. They were not happy with how the app contributed to their business results and figured a complete new user experience was needed. Before we started the design process, we decided more research was needed. We set up user interviews and tested the native apps to see what drives their users. We contacted potential car buyers to come in and use our app, while we gave them some tasks.
During the user interviews and tests it became clear that the app still fits the most prominent user needs. We did notice usability errors and found out that some features were too hidden. We decided a complete redesign was not neccessary. The simple and elegant no-nonsense concept of the app was still a valid idea. Instead, we focussed on improving the existing screens by making features like compare cars and save search queries more prominent, improved the usability of the filters and add a feature to remove cars from the search result lists.
While I would have loved to completely redesign the experience in the app, it became very clear during the user tests that it wasn't neccesary. As long as Autotrack doesn't want to pivot to a entire new strategy, a redesign would have been a waste of resources. This was a hard thing to present, but we get paid to do the hard things. I learned to seperate the things that we want to do and the things we really need to do.