The Times of India iPad App

CONTEXT

Times of India – India’s main English daily – wanted to create an app for their iPad users. It was to be one of the first English language Indian news apps. The competitors at the time were the NDTV news app.

In this project my role encompassed understanding stakeholder and user requirements, and designing the overall information architecture of the app, supervising the visual design and handling usability validations.

TOI_medianama.jpg

DESIGN PROCESS

The persona for the app was primarily the NRI reader of Times of India’s website, who now used iPads. Their biggest connection after the home page was the local news from their hometown.

Through exhaustive whiteboard sessions and boardroom sessions, I designed numerous iterations of the home page in both portrait and landscape orientations until we reached the final version shown below. One of the challenges was to get stakeholders articulate their thoughts, as well as get them aligned.

The rationale for differentiating the iPad app from the website, and understanding the visibility of the different news divisions within the experience were some real challenges I had to overcome.

TOI-1

TOI-2

IMPACT

It ran successfully until it was finally redesigned in 2017.

Launch day coverage from Medianama:

“The Times of India app for the iPad is a good beginning. Although, India is still at a nascent stage when it comes to tablets, news junkies are increasingly embracing them for the sheer usability they offer.”

Another review from 2011: The Gadget Fan:

“Times of India (TOI)’s iPad app is crowded but neatly done with no excessive use of colors. It’s like your newspaper with interactive features built in. There’s news, speed news, a way to browse through Videos and Photos and a big ad at the footer. TOI app has used the screen real estate very well. If IBN Live has used colors to stand out, TOI took the contrarian approach of using just black and white. 

IMG_0066

There’s a Cricket ticker which gets your attention immediately. It’s a ticker with white fonts on a black background. You can browse through various sections through the Sections tap placed prominently at the top left corner. TOI iPad app renders well in both portrait and landscape modes. TOI iPad app is highly recommended for your daily news fix. (iTunes link)”

On Times of India’s website

Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 10.31.40 PM

Date of Project: Sept 2010-Dec 2010, released 2011-2016

My Role: Principal Designer, Information Architect, Usability Specialist

Collaborated with: Pradeep Gairola (SVP, TIL) and Nigel Eccleston (Content).

Patent • Derrida: Deconstructed Video Navigation

GOAL

Another side project that was born from the challenges of viewing video file without knowing much about its content beforehand. Our aim was to create either

  • a new navigation system, over the sequential timeline
  • a new video ad unit for Adobe Primetime that would build better brand engagement.

At the time I was quite inspired by the work of Ellsworth Kelly and Karel Martens.

SOLUTION

We explored video navigation using existing short films from Youtube and came up with

(1) An algorithm to generate the content visualization of a video

(2) A number of variations of these visualizations, to enable alternate non-linear navigation apart from the timeline.

We worked on about 50 videos of duration from 30 sec to 1.5 min. We found that any of these videos could be deconstructed to components which are then visualized in different ways to give different viewing experiences.

Example

We took this video as an example to show how many this works.

This video can be deconstructed into its components and then recombined to tell variations of the same story to different types of users.

Derrida 00

Maybe a repeat user might see a different version the second time. This would enable digital marketers to repurpose existing content to build further engagement.Derrida 01Derrida 02

Derrida 03

Links to other engagement could also be embedded. For example from this navigation, users can directly go to buy the displayed merchandise, download additional media, or learn more about the location, etc.

Derrida 04

 

Patent: P5209US01: Deconstructed Video Ad Units

Date of Project: Jan 2014-June 2014

My Role: Designer & Product Owner

Team: Nutan Sawant and K Balaji