DPG Media

How can we engage younger readers with journalism whilst incorporating new forms of innovative advertising?


Run-through of main deliverables

Advertising concepts, Stories, Ad to Wallet (left to right)

Editorial feature concepts, Stories, Length toggle, highlighting, daily briefing (left to right)

"Advertisers shift their budgets from traditional media parties to Google and Facebook. We are looking for innovative products that can lead to better reader engagement.’

DPG is the largest media group in the Netherlands and Belgium. Reader behaviour has radically changed in the last 5 years meaning that media firms are relying on traditional advertising models that are dominated by the digital monopolies of facebook and google.


Journalism relies on subscriptions and advertising to operate but most digital advertising is now predominantly mediated through social media.

The aim of our research was to discover how, where and why users engage with journalism and how we could come up with new forms of innovative advertising.

Key Constraints:

  • Product solutions must be digital and mobile-based.

  • All solutions must be scalable and applicable to their range of media publications.

  • Solutions must be suitable for a range of demographics.



User Research

User Research - User Diary

To better understand how, when and why users engaged with media. We asked a range of twenty users to complete a three-day diary where participants logged relevant actions, experiences and thoughts relevant to the context of use.

Key Insights:

Frequent locations:

Breakfast time (at home usually)

Commuting (metro, train, ferry, bus, bike)

Lunch (home, workplace, conference)

Work (breaks, in-between tasks)


  • People really like to listen(passively) to podcasts while they're doing other things.

  • Only a few people like reading better than listening

  • Adds are annoying

  • News consumption for distraction

  • People get overwhelmed by negative news and big news channels


  • People really like to listen(passively) to podcasts while they're doing other things.

  • Only a few people like reading better than listening

  • Adds are annoying

  • News consumption for distraction

  • People get overwhelmed by negative news and big news channels


  • People get annoyed by ads and wish there was a way to remove them.

  • Some people prefer listening to reading the news.

  • Ability to toggle long and short news, having a summary.

  • Have all the news within one channel, instead of multiple apps.



Drawing from our user research insights, together with competitor analysis, we ideated rough solutions, sorted by the two distinct problem areas.

These ideas were then sorted into individual concepts.

Wireframing and A/B User Testing


A range of shortlisted concepts were then wireframed and tested. Users are a fundamental part of the design process and each was asked to critique each wireframe so that we could develop and eliminate ideas at an early stage.

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Example of low fidelity wireframing for the 'stories' and 'reading-list' concepts

Stories Concept

We took our initial concepts and pitched them in a focus group as well as a meeting with the client. After feedback we decided that the stories concept best met the needs of the client brief and user needs, reflecting our research.


Key Benefits

  • Gives readers greater user engagement functionality: the ability able to swipe through a quick visual overview of the news, grouped or featured content.

  • Users can swipe between stories, share with friends or save to a reading list to be read later.

  • Targeted advertising can be implemented between relatable content.

  • Encourages more touch-points throughout the day with live content.

Key Insights

  • Users indicated from our research the ability to engage with snack-able content.

  • Desk research: the psychology of Instagram (FOMO). 


WireframingUser Testing

Following user testing and feedback from different demographics. We decided to develop and further test the stories concept.


Though all our solutions were scalable, we decided to focus on one DPG publication (De Volkskrant) to demonstrate the product concepts.

Key User Insights

  • Transition between ‘stories’ should be timed as well as clickable.

  • Overview of how many stories needs to be visible.

  • Where would my stories save to? How/where would I access my reading list? 

  • This feature should be built on the existing media brands, not a separate app.

  • The process should be quick and simple to use.

  • User should have the ability to toggle back and forth between stories. Stories are not ephemeral.



Mockups were produced and several more rounds of user testing were carried out to validate and develop concepts further, before prototyping.


After 4 rounds of user testing and meeting with the client. The final concepts were developed into interactive prototypes. These were then tested on mobile devices in a focus group with the participants reflecting the range of demographics identified earlier in the process.

Story preview 1.png

Example of Story screen

Final Concepts

Ad-to-Wallet Concept


In addition to the stories concept, we also developed the additional concept of ‘coupons’, which worked in conjunction with 'Stories'.


Key Benefits

  • Together with stories and editorial content, covers the entire awareness, consideration, conversion marketing model. 

  • Advertisers can increase their reach more easily and increase conversion rates.

  • Brands can better track their advertising, demographics, content and offers for a better ROI. 

  • No app download or registration is required as it works with a native hardware wallet.

  • Encourages footfall to physical stores. 

  • The concept also works in physical print.

Key Insights

  • ‘21% of readers still subscribe to local newspapers solely to collect coupons.’ Observer American Consumer Survey.

  • ‘Offer something that you cannot get online. Start with what people care about.’ The post-truth business: Sean Pilot De Chenecey.

Example of flow in Ad-to-Wallet Concept

Example of concept alongside

editorial content


Example of concept in print (adds to native wallet)

Final Concepts

Usability Features

Length toggle

Reading List (above stories)

Community highlighting

Daily podcast

As well as the final products. We also developed a range of editorial and usability features reflecting the needs expressed from our user research.


  • Share stories: directly from the ‘stories’ feature with other users.

  • Community highlighting: where users can highlight and share parts of an article.

  • Reading list feature: where users can save stories to read later.

  • Audio: The ability to listen to content and a daily news podcast.

  • Length toggle: where users can choose the length of a story.

Final Solution

The final product is a mobile-based, digital solution that is scalable to other publications as expressed by the client. The product adds several user engagement features that make for a more accessible, enjoyable and legible experience.


Advertising is incorporated in an innovative and conjunctive way between stories and ‘Ad-to-Wallet’ concepts, though does not hinder or distract from the overall user reading experience. 


Developed Concepts:

  • Stories: allows readers to able to swipe through a quick overview of the news, grouped or featured content.

  • Ad-to-wallet: Users can collect wallets directly from stories, editorial content or in print and add to a native wallet, encouraging footfall to physical stores.

  • Reading list: allows users to save stories to read at a later time.

  • Toggle ability: to toggle the length of stories between long and short reads.

  • Community highlighting: and sharing feature.

  • Audio editorial features: for the ability to listen to stories, as well as a daily ‘summary’ podcast of the news.

Please click here to view the prototype or scan the QR code below.

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