Newstop / Popping the everyday news bubble
Exploring the future of newsstands
An experience design project, Newstop is a new media platform, mixing both digital news and physical kiosks.
With Newstop, users can read and share verified stories, see reactions, and respond in-person. The concept explores how we might combine the traditional role of newsstands with the ever-evolving delivery of news media.
To better understand the future of newsstands, it’s important to understand that while newsstands were once synonymous with news, they now serve a somewhat different function. News is about storytelling, providing citizens with the information they need to make good decisions, while modern newsstands are about quick transactions, convenient locations, and social interaction.
We needed to design a space that facilitates storytelling, quick transactions and social interaction.
Technology has allowed the human social impulse to flourish — as most digital users find and share stories directly through social media where they can be discussed and shared with other friends and connections.
How might we bring the digital world of curated stories into a physical space?
Our three phases of design research had led us to observe two key patterns of behavior from people we interviewed in San Francisco — those who value fast, timely, disposable and primarily digital stories, and those who value saving stories for later, often keeping well-crafted or beautifully designed print artifacts. Across both patterns of behavior, we found commonalities in people preferring to personally curate which stories they consume, and to share them with others, both in-person and online.
Most people we talked to had a strong desire to interact with others physically and to socialize and chat about the news stories they read or watched — however, the news stories almost universally came from digital sources.
With Newstop, users can read and share verified stories, see reactions, and respond in-person. This adds a layer of personal accountability that you don’t find online. Newstops can be found where Americans from all walks of life coexist every day - the subway, mall, or post office, and are designed to "help pop the news bubbles" we live in by showing real news, real facts, and real reactions.
You’re invited share your reaction to a news story and it’s instantly added to the live feed on one of the four streaming walls. You may be surprised to see how many people in Dallas are just as upset as you are about the Russian interference in American politics , or how many of your fellow San Franciscans are conservative voters. It might even spark up a conversation among people standing nearby.
Our research and micropilot showed us that users are looking for a single space to share their opinions and see the opinions of others. We decided to combine the two pillars into one larger hexagonal pillar, with two interactive sides, two sides showing local reactions, and two sides showing reactions from users in other areas.
The prototype demonstrates what a fully functional Newstop kiosk might look like, allowing users to react to a selected news story, see their reactions, view streaming and static reactions, and comment or share through other social media.
A higher fidelity Newstop might include two interactive sides with full touch screen capabilities and full screen walls. Users could view a streaming arrangement of interactions from cities throughout the country. Planned feature roll-outs include more interactive features (typing, drawing, filters), app integrations, and real-time global feeds.
The branding and display
Newstop's simple digital interface allows for simple photo reactions. Users can display their feelings without comment (a picture is worth a thousand words, after all) and watch as their picture joins the stream from their city. The picture frames around the screens are meant to further unite the physical and digital.
The hexagon shape, associated with bees and honeycombs, evokes feelings of a co-operative nature and collective strength, and the blue is meant to draw parallels with other social media branding. We wanted to evoke positive feelings of participatory democracy, without being overtly political.
Newstop is designed to help pop the news bubbles we live in by showing real news, real reactions, and real conversations. Newstop is a digital newsstand designed for everyday Americans who want to stay up-to-date on today’s stories.
Contact increases empathy, and people make decisions based on the information available. Newstop is designed to help people stay informed, share their opinions, and find out what people outside their bubble are thinking.