Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

The right user experience is key to success

For the past several months, my girlfriend — Maddie, she’s also a journalist — has been talking to me about a possible major: experience architecture. Michigan State gives it a weird name, but it’s user experience. From what I gathered, it has to do with how a user interacts with an app or interface such as Facebook or Twitter. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic spoke to the SJI class Thursday and we listened to his insight on the media organization.

One point he mentioned was how The Athletic emphasizes user experience. How developers have made it easier on the subscribers. Since The Athletic relies on those readers for its profits, I thought it brought up an interesting perspective. You must keep those who pay for the product happy and engaged. And if your website is hard to navigate, retention suffers.

The reason I bring this up is because of the uncertain times the journalism industry faces. While companies such as The Athletic use a subscriber-based model, there’s more to a website than articles. That’s where user experience gets slotted in. Digital journalism is still looking for the best way to make money, like print advertisements back in the day. I think any edge journalism can get to generate a viable model is important. Mixing journalism with recent ventures such as user experience will be crucial down the road.

–Souichi Terada