UX researcher and designer

The Economist - Intelligence Unit

User research - mobile
EIU Screens

Overview

Background

The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) are an economic and geopolitical insights think tank guiding the world’s organizations and governments. 

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

The EIU help their clients navigate the increasingly complex global environment, to analyze political and economic developments, forecast economic trends, and understand country specific regulations and business practices.

Problem

The EIU marketing department wants to create a mobile app based on the free “Insights” section of the EIU website to generate more user engagement ‘outside of the office’.

Goals

Grow awareness of The EIU’s products and services. Improve the signposting of other EIU properties (ECN and EIU Store). Improve subscriber journey and messaging.

My role

I led the user research portion of this project. I also provided support to aspects of the information architecture, and user testing for our prototype.

Generative research

Questions
  • How can we introduce new users to the EIU brand
  • What would keep users coming back to an EIU app?
  • What are the user’s needs?
  • How might we scale the EIU insights section into a mobile-first experience in the shape of an app?
  • How can we create a clear path to conversion for new or former EIU customers?
Design review

A design review showed a number of stylistic inconsistencies across the EIU’s website, some key takeaways were:

  • Some sections were duplicated or appeared in multiple places.
  • The existing content had not been designed to be viewed in mobile browsers. 
  • A task analysis proved that navigation on the existing EIU website was challenging.
  • There were lots of “ends of the journey” as one user told us.
  • Many of the EIU products and services were difficult to find.

To resolve these issues, we learned: 

  • The new app should be stylistically consistent. 
  • Content should be more logically organized and discoverable. 
  • The process of downloading and viewing content has to be consistent. 
  • There has to be an easy way to access paid content and subscription services.
Brand
position matrix

The EIU marketing department wants to create a mobile app based on the free “Insights” section of the EIU website to generate more user engagement ‘outside of the office’.

Taxonomy of
existing content

Some of the assets included videography, podcasts, photography, illustrations, interactive and animated elements, maps and geo-visualizations, information graphics, data visualizations, and whitepaper documents.

Competitive
analysis

McKinsey Insights

Users say:

“[The] app is simple—and content is very rich and relevant; [The] app allows for deep customization [of] your interests… Although McKinsey makes you register, they DO NOT bother you with endless requests and spam”

Forrester

 

 

Features:

  • Personalize the home screen to see the latest reports on the topics you care about.
  • Search research to find relevant content when and where you need it.
  • Watch on-demand webinars on the go.
  • Listen to podcasts examining market dynamics and hot topics.
  • Follow analyst blogs for quick insight on the latest market developments.

PWC 365

Features:

  • Personalized based on interests.
  • Browse by region.
  • Connect directly with authors.

Users say:

“I keep it on my home screen, so I can see the alerts for new material. Gives me useful up to the minute insights that I can easily share with my network.”

Strategic IQ

Features:

  • Over 120 topic areas, including industries, regional, and global issues. 
  • Browse articles, videos, and reports drawn from over 250 different sources for each topic. 
  • View data visualizations of relevant trends.

UN

Features:

  • Key statistical indicators;
  • economic indicators,
  • social indicators;
  • environmental and infrastructure indicators for 30 geographical regions and over 200 countries and areas of the world.

Users say:

”This is a great app with good information; the only sort of bad thing about it is that its design is a bit outdated but overall the app is great.”

User interviews

Five initial exploratory interviews
Analysis
Results
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
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
Downloadable content for offline use
Government
Custom news feeds

Global
Global
Impartial
Impartial
Scholarly
Scholarly
Credible
Credible
Authoritative
Authoritative
Serious
Serious
New York Times
New York Times
Economist Espresso
Economist Espresso
Economist
Economist
Google News
Google News
Twitter
Twitter
BBC
BBC
CNN
CNN

User personas

Beginnings

Finalized personas

New Prospect

Researcher at a university

This user has buying power through their institution, but they are looking for the right product. They have never purchased from the EIU before — but they are brand aware. They perceive 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.

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.

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.”

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.”

Our prototype

Low fidelity sketches
Mid-fidelity sketches
Wireframe

High-fidelity screens

Research: Adam Inglis
Information Architecture: M.E. Muzio
Prototyper and Visual Designer: Nazia Roushan
Mentor at The EIU: Ian Roberts, Lead Product Designer
and Lead Experience Architect at The EIU. 
Capstone Class Instructor: Michael Suen.