The New York Times Reader: Mobile App
How might we help teenagers grow
the habit of reading the New York Times?

The New York Times is an influential and trusted media source; however, it is competing for people’s time and attention with other devices and sources of news and information. This has been affecting the habits of young readers and subscribers. So how might we encourage the habit of reading The New York Times and grow its number of subscribers, especially among teenage audiences, for whom there is presently a gap in understanding the current political news?

NY Times Reader is an assistant mode for teenagers who are interested in reading news about politics but struggle to understand the context of the political climate. This reading mode provides political background and context in the NY Times App and prevents readers from hunting for extra information in other resources. This makes it possible for teens to understand political topics and build the habit of reading the NY Times.

5 weeks
UX Research,
UX Design, Prototyping
Abhinav Sircar
Crystal Wang
Sketch, Principle,
Zoom meeting
Renda Morton
(former VP Design of The New York Times) 
1. Social Media Entry: Teens are already on social media, especially Instagram and Snapchat, and they are consuming news. We decided to maintain this behavior as an entry point to the NY Times Reader mode.
2. Background Information: The reader mode provides a series of questions and answers to quickly contextualize teens on the issue discussed in the article. By expanding the sections, readers can find specific terms, biographical information, and events that will be mentioned in the article.
3. Timeline: Using previous articles in the NY Times, we can create a timeline that links the described event with related facts in the past. This helps to create an idea of relevance and context for what they are reading.​​​​​​​
User Research
We interviewed children, teens, and parents to understand young people’s habits of reading in each stage of their learning process. We also sought opportunities to encourage the habit of reading the NY Times from a young age.
Research findings
• Teens at age 14-16 years are interested in knowing about the world around them;
• Teens want to be informed and to understand what adults are talking about.
• Teenagers rely on their parents or peers for information about the world.  
• Parents want their kids to be more informed about news that impacts their lives.
• Instagram and Snapchat are mainly entry points that entice them to read the news.
• Teens recognize the reputation of the NY Times, but think it is not accessible.
We focused on teenagers because there was a pattern at the age of 14. They become more active in reading news, especially about politics; however, they still rely on parents and peers to understand the news because they do not have enough educational background yet. Moreover, they recognize the reputation of the NY Times, but they do not think that its language is accessible; this can cause a lack of interest.​​​​​​​

User Journey Empathy
Through a user journey empathy map, we tried to break down the process of consuming news and find opportunities for design intervention.
How might we help teenagers grow the habit of reading the New York Times?​​​​​​​
Final Product
By analyzing the number of viewers who are using this new feature and tracking the number of new young subscribers, we can measure the success of this product.
• Expanding the explanations of complex topics, not only those related to politics.
• Building brand loyalty from a younger age.
• Getting the teens in the habit of reading the New York Times, they will more likely grow into subscribers in adulthood.
• Extending the audience from teens to other groups, as many people who are not familiar with the news might benefit from the same platform.
Next Steps
• Usability testing with the audience
• Redesign timeline interaction in order to be more explicit.
• Adding estimated reading time.
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