How User Experience can shape your branded newsroom
User Experience is not a factor that’s often considered in Public Relations. It should be. Nowadays, corporate newsrooms can communicate directly with your target audiences, often bypassing the traditional gatekeeper that was the media. As more and more brands look to create their own newsrooms, where company news is distributed through a variety of mediums, the look and feel of these sites is crucial.
While it’s unlikely most companies will have the resources to hire a UX Designer just for their newsroom, PR teams can take it upon themselves to learn the basics of UX and keep them in mind for their campaigns.
What is UX?
User Experience or UX sits at the intersection of branding, design, usability, and function when it comes to a product or service. Good UX makes a product useful, usable, desirable, findable, accessible, and credible. Apple is a great example of a company that offers superior UX to their customers and can charge a premium for it. Even though there are hundreds of laptops and smartphones out there, people love how iPhones and Macbooks are designed so they’re willing to pay more for them.
In terms of a newsroom, UX might influence the layout of the page, the fonts used, the color palette, and the information architecture.
If you’re aiming to create a newsroom with a bit of a buzz around it, catering to a wider audience means making sure the experience is accessible to as many people as possible. Publishing different types of content like audio, video, and infographic, as well as text, opens up your content to people with visual or hearing impairments.
If your audience is mostly older users, you might want to use bigger fonts, whereas sites for kids’ products should have less text and more images. It’s all about establishing the demographics you’re trying to communicate with and designing a site that will appeal to them.
The usability of a digital newsroom can be measured with criteria like the number of visitors and time spent on your site, but also in the satisfaction of users and their feedback.
Usability tests or user testing involves trying content to see if users intuitively follow the flow of the site the way it was envisaged they would, or to see if they can easily access a particular section or piece of content. You can gather feedback from data: Are people engaging with your content? Do they drop off before finding what they need? How many clicks does it take before they land where they need to? – you can make use of Analytics tools and heat and click maps).
Simplicity is a winning principle when it comes to UX. Think twice before adding elements: is this necessary? Will it help users retrieve information or find what they need? Or is it just creating more barriers? These days, busy consumers are bombarded with information left, right, and center. That’s why a site like Google keeps things as simple as possible.
Think about where you want the user's attention to be drawn when they click into your newsroom and make sure there aren’t too many distractions taking them in other directions.
When someone logs on to your newsroom, they should be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. This means the menu and site map should be organized in a way that’s coherent, and people should need no more than a few clicks to access the information they need. When new content is added to the site, the correct tags and categories should be used, and images should always have relevant alt text and metadata to ensure clarity.
Check out PressPage’s full guide to managing a branded newsroom for more tips.