Recirculation Module

Giving readers (smart) next choices after they finish articles.

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User problem

Our national app had a problem: there were no further reading recommendations at the bottom of articles. If users wanted to read something else, they had to go back to the homepage.

This was a missed opportunity for us and an irritation for them. If they've taken the time to read a long piece, they’re probably open to reading something else.

Research

Early on, we tried to gauge user expectations about the end-of-article space while testing other features. We asked users about their reading habits, and what they did after completing articles. Often, they said that they want to read about something different once they finish a piece.

In several instances, readers told us outright that they wanted the feature.

Hypothesis

The bottom-of-article space is an ideal playground to work with recommendations and offer users “deep” article recommendations they don’t find on the homepage.

Audience

Washington Post Select users.

(Select is the Post's national app, not the flagship. It's made for more casual reading.)

Success Metrics

CTR above 4%

Increased traffic to "deep sections" that appear toward the bottom of our sections list.

Early designs

I tried out a lot of ideas — stacking carousels, making cards for app sections (eg World, Sports, Politics, etc.).

User test designs

We settled on placing a single carousel at the bottom of articles so we could experiment with different recommendation engines.

Final Designs

We toned down the visual design on the final spec to match the current app's design language (we'd originally hoped to launch it alongside a large visual redesign).

Spec for developers

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Results

It worked!

  • CTR was 10%
  • Views in Science & Tech, Business, and Entertainment went up.

We added the recirculation module to the Post’s larger, flagship app.

We also added it to the flagship’s tablet version.