Topicks

This service allows users to explore news while being aware of the biases of particular sources, in order to understand the bigger picture. A news curation tool that facilitates the forming of educated personal opinions, your news, in context.

2013
Topicks is a service that presents you with the most relevant daily news topics, and their supporting viewpoints from a variety of sources. Topicks gives you the whole story by providing the viewpoints that normally go unseen, and allows you to explore and form your own opinion based on the facts. This short video provides an overview of the Topicks news experience.
I contributed especially during ideation, basic demographic research, and overall service design process. Along with writing copy and giving presentations, I also contributed by storyboarding and coordinating the filming of the final video. The tools that I used throughout this project include: Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign.
This project had a highly conceptual focus and we spent many hours discussing and researching how people engage with news and the issues that surround the way news is delivered by news sources. We wanted to tackle the fact that the bias of a particular news source greatly impacts the way that they divulge information and ultimately the way that readers understand the issues. 
We ultimately designed a network platform that allowed users to stitch together articles and references by organizing the news by topic. The system was curated by users and at the end of each article users could verify it's connection to the topic, and easily switch to another, related article. We went back and forth between labeling the bias for each article, and ultimately decided that we would put basic "viewpoint labels" so that users would be able to get more contextual information before reading the article. This remains one of the more controversial elements of the project that I would research further if I were to continue refining the design. 
Our next step was to craft the story we would tell about the service Topicks provides, via a pitch video. I worked with my team to create a storyboard and shot list that would convey the key elements of our design, which resulted in the video at the top of this page. Aside from researching how people digest news and designing a nodal framework to allow people to engage with the news in a new way, I really enjoyed that this project culminated in creating a story that talks about how we designed the system. We were able to convey how different people could use the service and that we feel it is important for news sources to provide a well-rounded view of current issues.
Project Advisor:
Axel Roesler

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