Sounds kind of sexy, right? Overstimulating the user? Well, it’s not. It’s not sexy at all, it’ll lead to the systematic exodus from the usage of your app.
This weeks talks from Shazna Nessa (Director of Interactive at the AP) and Mohamed Nanabhay (Head of Online at Al Jazeera English) highlighted some very important problems inherent in my idea. I’ve never been in a newsroom, though I have worked with journalists to some extent. Still, information about the pace of a newsroom led me to start thinking about Newsle from the journalistic perspective.
With the mass of information coming in from citizen journalists, the “drop everything” attitude of breaking story time, and the speed at which teams in newsrooms are pumping out graphics, I started to wonder how I could simplify my idea to be beneficial to someone who simply doesn’t have time to fiddle around.
I’ve been thinking that Newsle’s target audience is engaged news consumers, and obviously, those people are either journalists or citizen journalists to a great extent. Considering the “taking the best of the past and bringing it into the future” quote from Shazna, it seems that the tool needs to give users the ability to reuse, which means giving them the ability to remember. So implementing features that allow that audience to keep a history (á la Wikipedia Contribution listings) is sort of necessary.
Newsle can serve as information, research and source gathering for journalists from the get-go because crowd sourcing is generally self correcting, so the information they pull is surely verifiable.
I’ve now worked into my project a more succinct ability for journalists to collaborate, by introducing the ability to form group bins. In addition to having geo locative bins (as I talked about in my first post), I think it would be worthwhile to have collective bins, where an organization can have multiple people categorizing and linking trends and stories. This form of bin would be a “closed” bin, giving the organization the ability to control the categorization. Public tagging and organization of these stories would not show up in the organizational bin.
I also think that the idea of empowering people
“to tell stories that are nuanced and sophisticated”
as Mohamed put it, is at the heart of my idea.
My new problem is how to engage those users without overstimulating them.
I drew out a super rough and simple interface solution. The more I think about it, the more complicated it gets. There are more and more features which seem necessary and the amount of clicks that it takes to get to the center of the tootsie roll pop seems to be escalating. I’m dealing with that problem by dreaming up an interface that makes it easy to access all of those features without actually clicking around much.
The idea keeps growing, and I’m trying really hard to simplify, minimize, focus. Here’s a video!