User Research/UX

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Economist Intelegence Unit

Who are the EIU?

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the world leader in global business intelligence.

They are the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, and the sister company to The Economist newspaper.

The EIU helps businesses, the financial sector, and governments, understand how the world is changing and how that creates opportunities to be seized and risks to be managed.


Project outline

3 Team Members, 5 Weeks.

Deliverables: competitive/comparative analysis, user research and personas, journey maps, user flows, site maps, sketches, wireframes and clickable prototype.

Conducted: interviews, competitive/comparative analysis, usability testing.

Design tools: Miro, Meistertask, Adobe XD, Google Suite, paper and pen.

Problem statement

User-centered:

Users need a way to access EIU marketing content because the current website is not user-friendly, cohesive or mobile-enabled.

Brand-centered:

The Insights section of the EIU needs a way to improve content delivery to generate more user engagement.


Project objective

Create a marketing app that reflects the EIU business, engages users, and new prospects through its content.


Find new ways to increase engagement with the EIU through sign-ups, views, downloads, and sharing.


Research questions
  • How can we introduce new users to the EIU brand?
  • What are the current user’s needs?
  • What would keep users engaged with an EIU app?
  • How can we scale the EIU insights section into a mobile-first experience?
  • How can we create a clear path to conversion for EIU customers?


Competitive analysis and generative research

Competitor apps

We wanted to get a sense of similar apps within the same space of a proposed EIU app. Considered were similar consultancy firms presumed to have audience overlap. I acetrained where this overlap was using tools such as Google Trends, Facebook for Business, and Alexa Competitive Analysis, Marketing Mix and Traffic. Also examined were apps considered to be best-practice or innovative in the content publishing space.


Factiva
Factiva
Forrester
Forrester
McKinsey Insights
McKinsey Insights
NY Times
New York Times
Bain
Bain
PWC 365
PWC 365
Strategy Skills
Strategy Skills
Quartz
Quartz
Business Insider
Business Insider
Strategic IQ
Strategic IQ
UN
UN Factbook
HBR
Harvard Business Review
Gartner
Gartner
WSJ
WSJ
Bloomberg
Bloomberg
Espresso
Economist Espresso
The Economist
The Economist
Guardian
Guardian


Brand position matrix

We also considered the brand position of the EIU. At the moment, the EIU is a think tank producing impartial, longform content. A future app positions the EIU within the hemispheres of bite-sized content, too.

User interviews

Five interviews were conducted via video-conference. Three of our interviewees were in London, two were in New York.

Because the EIU could not supply real users, proxy users stood in instead. Our proxy users were internal EIU staff with customer knowledge similar to end-users. Some had previously been or were currently using the premium-tier subscription product.

Difficulties with proxy users

Proxy users were ultimately viewing the end-users through their own lens. They were passionate and opinionated about who and what the EIU is/does. They also had their own preconceptions about who the users were. This meant they would sometimes forget to answer questions from the point of view of the type of user we were asking them to imagine themselves to be.


Synthesis


Transcription

The interviews were recorded and then later transcribed for further analysis.


Thematic analysis

Next I undertook a thematic analysis and began identifying common threads that were emerging within the interviews.


Affinity maping



Finally, I created affinity maps for each interview. This process consisted of breaking down, and isolating the responses into the seven broader categories that were identified during the thematic analysis and transcription phase. The themes that emerged were: types of users, goals, wants, design needs, pain points, brand awareness, and other products often used.





Site map for the legacy website

We created an initial sitemap of the existing website to get an understanding of the current web product.

Some of the issues we identified were:

  1. Navigation was poor and circuitous.

  2. There were lots of “ends of journey” on the site and dead ends in the customer journey.

  3. Navigation was non-linear with content living on different internal websites across multiple domains.

  4. Many of the EIU products and services were undiscoverable or difficult to find.

  5. Style inconsistencies with content headlines and text, etc.

  6. Some sections were duplicated or appeared in multiple places at once.

  7. There was content that required a second sign-up process.

  8. Sections of the site have been redesigned but still have to interact with the older web pages and this has led to inconsistencies and dead ends.

To resolve the issues we learned that:

    The new app has to be stylistically consistent and customized specifically for mobile delivery.

    There should only be one login process that allows access to the app, and, if the user wants, access to the website.

    Content delivery should be more logically divided into coherent sections.

    The process of downloading content has to be consistent.

    The use of photographs has to be minimized and more relevant to the text.

    Users always have to have a way back to the home screen.

    There has to be an easy way to access paid content and subscription services.


Findings

The users are

Company directors
Company directors
Executives
Executives
Researchers
Researchers
Economists
Economists
Product managers
Product managers
Investors in projects
Investors in projects
Data scientists
Data scientists
Librarians
Librarians
Journalists
Journalists
Editors
Editors
Product developers
Product developers
Government
Government employees



Needs

Company directors
Updates on special reports
Executives
Find out about EIU events, seminars, and webinars
Researchers
Chatbot or customer service representative
Economists
Personalize alerts and notifications for the weekend or when traveling
Product managers
Bookmarking tool
Investors in projects
Search tool
Data scientists
Exchange rates
Librarians
Top-level data to compare and benchmark
Journalists
Filter by city level
Editors
Filter by industry/s
Product developers
Filter by country
Government
Information graphics
Government
Download content for offline use
Government
Custom feeds

Pain points

User's perception of the EIU


Global
Global
Impartial
Impartial
Scholarly
Scholarly
Credible
Credible
Authoritative
Authoritative
Serious
Serious

Other products they talked about

New York Times
New York Times
Economist Espresso
Economist Espresso
Economist
Economist
Google News
Google News
Twitter
Twitter
BBC
BBC
CNN
CNN


Personas

Initial persona sketches


Finalized personas

Future Generation EIU Subscriber

Young professional and digital native

Not yet ready to buy. Often presents ideas to other people for a living. Doesn't know much about other products and services. Perceives the EIU to be scholarly.

Goals

Wants to keep up with what’s going on. Needs to find something to tweet about. Is looking for a new podcast to listen to on the way to work.

Pain Points

Ambiguity around pricing or the business model. Dead ends, or “end of journey” points in digital products.


Influencer

Journalist or editor

This user is a horizon scanner. They are not responsible for purchasing but can influence the buyer in their organization. Often looking for one thing, but finds another. Knows all about the EIU and many of its products and services. Presents ideas to other people for a living. Perceives the EIU to be authoritative.

Goals

Needs to write or commission a feature analysis piece. Needs to borrow authority from EIU. Has to find something to tweet about. Find out about what the EIU is doing.

Pain Points

“I struggle to find the report I need.” “Missing information related to the category I need.” “Having to do my own calculations."


Switcher

An executive at a fast-moving consumer goods company

Is close to a buying decision and has buying power. Has a lapsed EIU subscription. Planning store rollouts in Chinese cities.

Goals

Needs to get information, insights, opinions and analysis to inform decision making. Trying to find the right product.

Pain Points

“I don’t really like reading on a smartphone. I find it difficult to do research or get more in-depth information on a smartphone.”


New Prospect

Researcher at a university

Has buying power, but looking for the right product. Has never purchased from the EIU but is brand aware. Perceives the EIU to be credible.

Goals

Needs to get updates on special reports. Would like to find out about EIU events/seminars, and discover webinars.

Pain Points

Can’t stand it when search and navigation are not intuitive. Making an inquiry should not be difficult or time-consuming either.


Wireframe


Our clickable prototype was created and used to understand more about how users would interact with our proposed future app. Initial sketches were created with pen and paper.




High fidelity artifacts and a clickable prototype was then created with Adobe XD.




Usability tests

Several rounds of usability testing were completed with our proxy users as we ideated on our prototype. We received a final system usability scale score of 85 (0 being negtive 100 being positive).