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New York Public Radio is the nonprofit owner of WNYC, WQXR, NJPR, WNYC Studios, Gothamist, and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. It has more than 20 million monthly listeners across its radio stations and podcasts.
New York Public Radio, the nation’s largest public radio group, acquired the irreverent Gothamist website in 2018 after it had been shut down in late 2017 by a previous owner. The website needed a complete redesign and relaunch, and the nonprofit’s 2-person UX design team were tasked with truly understanding the site’s users. And, being a nonprofit that relies on community donations, they had to do that work in an inclusive, transparent process for both internal and external stakeholders.
The UserTesting customer panel was a “godsend” for them, said Laura Galbraith, NYPR’s Lead Product Designer, as they tackled persona and user journey mapping. They were able to drill down and find the Gothamist’s unique audience and run unmoderated interviews to truly find out what they thought about the website, how they engaged with it throughout the week, and what pain points they experienced. The team showed highlight clips, with positive and negative feedback, to internal stakeholders who were impressed with the process and transparency.
The bottom-line goal with the relaunch and redesign was to keep the audience stable, which was not a given when the project was being rolled out all at once. But NYPR met those goals and then some. “Our numbers are increasing to the point where we're hiring more staff for the Gothamist and extend coverage over the weekend, which was something we learned our audience wanted from UserTesting,” said Chris Hardtman, Senior Director, Digital Design and UX. The UserTesting experience also created a culture of experimentation throughout NYPR, including the newsroom, who are all benefiting from the user insights.
“The thing I love most about UserTesting is definitely the pool of users. It's expediting our process and allowing us to build digital experiences that we can say for sure are helping us serve our users.”