In 2017 I joined Knowhere, a technology-focused news organization in San Francisco, as their first hire and product designer. Knowhere uses AI, ML, and data science in the newsroom to write trustworthy news.
Over the course of three years I personally designed and managed our core internal and external-facing products, scaled our consumer product to half a million users, helped Knowhere grow from a four to twenty-person team, and conducted hundreds of user interviews to establish a user-centered product culture at the company and a strong foundation of knowledge about our audience. Today, Knowhere's formal design process marries design thinking with the time-tested editorial workflow, and is the result of hundreds of iterations. Creating this process required advocating for human-centered design thinking and user research.
What is Knowhere
Knowhere, a news organization and tech start-up based in San Francisco, was created to serve as a counter example to the partisan agenda of mainstream American media. Knowhere's newsrooms merge state-of-the-art technology with traditional journalistic rigor to deliver fact-based news to readers. Knowhere extensively covers American politics and a mix of business, technology, and foreign affairs.
As Design Director I was directly responsible for the Quality, Creativity, and Delivery of the following core products:
Knowhere's daily morning newsletter, The Brief, is the company's primary consumer product, with over 500K readers. See The Brief here.
Ida is Knowhere's CMS. The product is where our journalists interface with our artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to write news that is as factual, unbiased and information dense as possible. See clips of Ida here.
Knowhere's primary web experience. See the site here.
I designed and maintainted design systems for each product. To see the Design Systems please send request.
KNOWHERE'S POWERHOUSE PRODUCT, IDA
Ida, named after Ida B. Wells, was the backbone of the Knowhere newsroom. A multi-faceted, dynamic tool used by Knowhere local and national editorial teams, Ida was where news reporting interfaced with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Knowhere's end-to-end journalistic process lives in Ida.
Instead of typing, I've decided to create an audio experience for the interested viewer. Please listen to the recordings below, as I explain the one and only IDA!
Ida for Treasure Coast, Florida
How to write stories using Ida
Set Design vision
Lead User Research
User empathy (being the voice of the user)
Managed an engineering team of three
Developed Product and Design priorities with Head of Product
Provided design insight on business needs and ideas
Created Knowhere's Design Systems from scratch
Developed Knowhere's Brand Guidelines
Helped establish Knowhere has a user-centric and empathetic force in the new media space
I joined an early stage start-up for the explicit opportunity to architect the design process. I worked closely with leadership to create a formal design process that was custom to our needs.
Three years and hundreds of iterations later, the process marries the “design thinking” methodology with the editorial process. From the beginning, I knew I wanted our design process to match the pace and excitement of a newsroom. The end result has been a user-centered process, optimized for rapid user testing, collaborative across teams, and reflective of our company’s data-driven and non-partisan culture.
9 Step Process
1. Define the problem (identify user/business needs, design scope)
2. Research (user and competitive)
3. Brainstorm (the "how might we's")
5. Cross-functional meeting (includes meeting with editorial team)
7. User test
9. Stress test
Any product sprint begins with framing. For the Product team at Knowhere this involved asking the following questions:
1. What people problem are we trying to solve?
2. How do we know this is a real problem? What evidence (data) do we have? Is this a problem that is worth solving?
3. How will we know if we’ve solved this problem?
Ask me about
How products at Knowhere evolved
Product and Engineering collaboration
Being the only woman in the room
How to be a valuable first employee
Where I think journalism is headed
Designing for email
The politics of objectivity