In late 2015, BuzzFeed set out to redesign the home feed of its native apps to improve content discovery. The previous home feed design did not showcase the breadth of content that BuzzFeed published, e.g., news, video, and quizzes. The various content types were visually the same in the home feed, making it impossible for users to distinguish what type of content they were actually looking at until they tapped.
Design a new feed for the BuzzFeed native apps (iOS and Android) that better represents the breadth of BuzzFeed content.
We had little qualitative data on how users browse the current home feed. To address this blind spot, I developed discussion guides, recruited participants, and facilitated various studies throughout the design process to better inform our decision making. Still, sample sizes were too small, or feedback was subjective, leaving a lot of the design decision making on me and my squad.
The previous design made it impossible for users to visually distinguish the different content types, e.g., news, video, quizzes in the native app home feeds. Working with another Sr. Designer, we developed a new modular design system to better represent and accommodate any type of content from a video to a poll. It also solved for our goals of having visual design consistency across mobile and web and scale content across various screen sizes:
The "hero" module was the very first piece of content every user sees when they first open the BuzzFeed app. Its purpose was to inform users of the essential news programmed by the BuzzFeed News department. Our goal here was to bring in BuzzFeed's personality into this module as the rest of the feed was pretty flat and simple. I explored a variety of solutions to understand "BuzzFeed's personality" while also keeping technical feasibility in mind:
Breaking News was an essential part of the home feed experience that we also needed to support in our redesign. There were two design challenges I faced working with stakeholders from BuzzFeed's News department. First was the prominence of the module when programmed, and second, was incorporating elements of the BuzzFeed News brand:
We also introduced a new inline video experience to accomplish our objectives of increasing video views and engagement. In the previous home feed, users had to navigate to an article view to be able to consume a video. I developed BuzzFeed's first video player experience, which included establishing a new video module, native video player, and video UX:
Revamping the navigation was also a big part of the home feed project as it had the potential to increase views and engagement to news, video, and quiz verticals. Previously both native apps used a hamburger menu to allow users to navigate to over 20+ verticals. Our data showed that less than~ 30% of our users' opened the hamburger menu, and when they did, only visited 2-3 verticals, which typically were news, video, or quizzes. This insight gave us the confidence to rethink navigation in the app and move a tab approach highlighting our primary content verticals: