On shopping v/s reading experience | The Humane Club Made with Humane Club
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I've 15 years of experience in media product & technology. By day, I work at a mainstream news site. Prior to this, I was a Knight Fellow with ICFJ.org and have co-founded two companies. All views expressed here are my personal opinions.
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I've 15 years of experience in media product & technology. By day, I work at a mainstream news site. Prior to this, I was a Knight Fellow with ICFJ.org and have co-founded two companies. All views expressed here are my personal opinions.

On shopping v/s reading experience

Published May 26, 2021
Updated Nov 28, 2021

Previously, we discussed why homepages of news sites that operate in the advertisement economy look like homepages of e-commerce sites.

However, the moment you shift to the subscription economy, news websites focus on another metric, i.e., daily active users (DAU).

The goal is not to get users to read many articles. The goal is to connect with the user every single day and give them value every day and create a sticky experience that results in them renewing the subscription at the end of the year.

Hence, the design of the homepage (and other listing pages) should shift from being ‘shopping experiences’ to ‘reading experiences.’

For this, one could take inspiration from the design of print newspapers. One could glance at an entire newspaper in 2 minutes or read through it for 20 minutes. All the stories are then and there to read but segmented by typography, sizes, and placements. Charts, visuals, quotes, cartoons are stitched together into a seamless page for today. Let’s call this concept composability. More on this later.

NYT’s website is among the few who have achieved this concept well. Within the below image area, there are articles, charts, live blogs, and all of it fits together as if it were a newspaper. If you have only 3 minutes today, come glance at our homepage, and you get a sampling of everything. The NYT homepage continues to live to its original slogan – “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

The mobile app has only three tabs, yes only three tabs:

  1. Today: What the editor wants you to read.
  2. For you: What you prefer reading.
  3. Sections: Everything else.