Design Critique: Winno (iPhone App)

About Winno

Winno is an app where you can get news feeds and updates in one place. It posts news curated and fact-checked by humans, instead of links generated by algorithms, with an unbiased headline summarized in a sentence or two with a link to its original source.

How It Works

Users register with a Facebook or Google account, or phone number, and follow a list of news topic hashtags. The topic hashtags you follow will become your feeds, and the news from a variety of sources will be shown chronologically. Currently, Winno only offers a small number of news topics, such as #china-us, #racial-justice, #coronavirus, etc.; however, you can also suggest a feed if you like.

Design Problems

Searching for news topics is accessible. There’s a clear signifier with a text ‘add feed’ in a dotted box (Figure 1). Users can tap that icon and search for popular topics hashtags to follow. 

Figure 1

The search bar is also available on the top if users can’t find anything on this page (Figure 2). One nice thing about the search function is that it suggests search results. For example, if you type ‘stock,’ related topics will show since there’s no #stock hashtag (Figure 3). It provides decent feedback and user experience, as Winno currently does not offer a wide range of news topic hashtags, but users might find something relevant.

However, it has low discoverability about the ‘follow’ or ‘unfollow’ button. There’s no direct way to know if the user is following the hashtag unless they’re on the topic page and click ‘option’ (Figure 4 and 5). 

Besides, once the topic hashtags reach a specific limit, ‘add feed’ is disappeared (Figure 5). It’s a poor example of executing consistency

Figure 5

Another inconvenience is that there’s a constraint when the user wants to read the news. Instead of clicking the whole news block, the user can only click ‘read more,’ despite its clear signifier (Figure 6). It limits the clickable area on a small screen and results in poor feedback, as well.

Figure 6

Solution

It is essential to ensure that ‘add feed’ stays on the page, whether how many hashtags a user follows. My solution is to keep consistency by having the ‘add feed’ button on top of the screen. It provides a better signifier and less confusion for the users. Even if they’re following extra topic hashtags, they are still able to see it. I also would like to increase discoverability by having icons that indicate ‘following’ or ‘to follow.’ or titles that say ‘following’ or ‘explore’ on the menu (Figure 7 & 8). It allows users to be informed more directly. The last thing would be to expand the clickable area to the whole block to read the source.