MOBILE APP DESIGN

CNN MONEYSTREAM

CNN MONEYSTREAM

MoneyStream from CNN is a native mobile app that allows users to follow companies, business leaders, and stock symbols to get personalized news and market data. I was brought on to expand its feature set and help focus it to appeal to more users.

BRAND

CNN

ROLE

Strategy, UX Design, Visual Design

YEAR

2017

The Problem

CNN MoneyStream had a great concept; allow people to get news and data by following companies, CEOs, and stock symbols that they care about. Unfortunately, the app had a limited set of features, lack of clear direction, and a hazy idea of who the audience was. Within months of launch, engagement was dropping and the issues needed to be addressed. The app had to be refocused so it could get users what they needed.

CNN MoneyStream had a great concept, allow people to get news and data by following companies, CEOs, and stock symbols that only they care about, just like instagram or twitter. Unfortunately, the app was setback from launch with a limited set of features, lack of clear direction, and hazy idea of who the audience was. Within months of launch, engagement was dropping and the issues needed to be addressed, and fast. So the question was, how to refocus an app to help it’s users get what they need?

Users and Audience

CNN wanted to target millennials who typically didn’t read CNNMoney or other business outlets, and educate them about business and investing for their future.

From the onset, the app was designed without clear idea of who exactly would use it. Anyone interested in news, market data, investing, and business could potentially be the audience. At launch, the app replaced the CNN Money app that had developed a loyal fanbase over a span of 6-8 years. The dedicated audience was older and used to to a simple scrolling news stream. Because of these issues, current users were leaving the app due to confusion and new users didn’t know what to do once they landed for the first time. The desired audience was younger, educated, and socially active. The CNN organization wanted to target millennials who typically didn’t read CNNMoney or other business outlets, and educate them about business and investing for their future.

moneystream-personas

Team and Role

Having had previous experience creating digital tools for millennial audiences as well as building a lean product team from scratch, I was brought onto the project to help to focus the app. The core MoneyStream staff was cross functional and included members from editorial, project management, web, iOS and Android developers, and design. I was tasked with helping restructure the process between design and development and designing new interactions so that we could ship out features faster and reach our goals.

Having had previous experience creating digital tools for millennial audiences as well as building a lean product team from scratch, I was brought onto the project to help to focus the app. The core MoneyStream staff was cross functional and included groups from editorial, project management, web, iOS and Android developers, as well as design. I was tasked with helping restructure the process between design and development and designing new interactions so that we ship out features faster and in turn reach our goals.

Design Process

Because I came in in midway, I had to get up to speed fast. I scheduled interviews with every stakeholder on the project in order to understand the scope from as many aspects as possible.

This project had a rather unconventional process. Because I was coming in midway, I had to get up to speed fast. I scheduled interviews with every stakeholder on the project in order to understand the scope from as many aspects as possible.


Using the insight I gained from the interviews, I drafted a doc with all the current successes, grievances, and a plan for moving forward. Working together with the head of product and creative director, we drafted a proposed process update to add accountability and make communication between groups easier.

Using the insight I gained from the interviews, I drafted a doc with all the current successes as well as grievances and sought a way in which to move forward. Working together with the head of product and creative director, we drafted a proposed process update to make communication between groups more easier and add accountability.

It was imperative that we determine who we were designing for and that we understood what they wanted to do in the app and how they wanted to do it. We collected a substantial data set through a form that we sent out and were able to conclude some insightful information. Using the survey data we collected, I created four distinct user personas that directed the future functionality of the app.

It was imperative that we knew who we were designed for and understand what they wanted to do on the app and how they wanted to do it. Bypassing typical protocol, we created a thorough survey using Google Forms and distributed through colleague’s social media accounts. We collected a substantial data set and were able to conclude some insightful info about potential demographics. Using the survey data we collected, I created four distinct user personas that were very helpful in directing the future functionality of the app.

We worked closely with the developer team to align the iOS and Android builds of the app. Previously, features were being designed specially for iOS and then sent to the Android developers to port over. This team took liberties to do what makes sense for the platform but the result was that the apps felt disjointed. We worked to match design styles, and features so that both felt as similar as possible.

We worked closely with the developer team to closely align the iOS and Android builds of the app. Up until I joined, features were being designed specially for iOS and then sent to the Android developers to port over. Due to the aforementioned lack of communication, they took liberties to do what makes sense for the platform but the result was that the apps felt disjointed. We worked to match design styles, and features so that both felt as similar as possible.

From there, I helped prioritize the various features in the design queue to prioritize big wins as quick as possible. We whiteboarded new UX interactions to think through how they would look and work.

From there, I helped prioritize the various features in the design queue. Again, we wanted big wins as quick as possible. We whiteboarded new UX interactions to think through how they would look and work.

CNN MoneyStream for iOS & Android

personalize news

Personalize your news

Tailor stories, videos & alerts to your interests.

Stay Informed

Get the latest money news that matters to you.

stay informed
gain insight

Gain powerful insights

Easy-to-understand money advice from the pros.

Track your investments

Up-to-the-minute insights on your portfolio.

track investments

Outcome

The work we put in was well worth it. Internally the team was much more tight-knit; we were able to increase communication between departments and streamline our workflow. The proposed process was utilized in varying degrees and the output within the team had increased dramatically.

In terms of product performance, we saw great improvement. Engagement with the MoneyStream app increased, we aligned the iOS and Android app so the two experiences felt more cohesive, and we were able to push out a complete suite of features in a short amount of time. 

The work we put in was well worth it. Internally the team was much more tight-nit; we were able to increase communication between departments and streamline our workflow. The proposed process was utilized in varying degrees and output within the team had increased dramatically.

In terms of product performance, we saw great improvement. We aligned the iOS and Android app so the two experiences felt more cohesive. We were able to push out a complete suite of features. Engagement with the MoneyStream app increased.

Next Project