Earning Relevance – Wall Street Journal 2020 Initiative
Background and problem
Much of The Wall Street Journal’s reporting alienates audiences who aren’t familiar with finance. The Wall Street Journal designed a 2020 initiative to revamp their digital strategy, and a large part of this strategy is making their journalism accessible for newer and younger audiences.
Earnings stories are inaccessible to readers unfamiliar with economics, but they are full of "fun fact" tidbits about human behavior. They can appeal to audiences outside the scope of finance news readers because they illuminate industry trends, and they shed light on important information about the wider economy. However, these interesting tidbits are often bogged down in giant blocks of text, context-less data, and hard to decipher terminology.
Role and Goals
As part of WSJ’s 2020 initiative, I helped redesign earnings reports on desktop and mobile to bring in new and younger audiences. The goal: make earnings stories more accessible to people who aren’t familiar with finance.
Guidelines for rewriting hard-to-decipher earnings terminology
When you're writing about finance jargon, keep these principles in mind:
- Be specific.
- Add context wherever possible.
- Beware of industry-specific terms.
- Use conversational language when appropriate.
I helped produce this Snapchat story for The Wall Street Journal's Snapchat Discover page, as part of the initiative to revamp earnings reports for emerging media. It ran in May 2017.
Users said that numbers in earnings stories deterred them from reading and comprehending the articles. I redesigned earnings articles so that the numbers would be allocated to a side chart, so the focus of the narrative about a company's earnings would take place in the text article.
Methodology and Iterations
Through extensive usability testing and prototyping new tools, we found that earnings reports can reach new audiences if presented in the right format. Our team held semi-weekly user testing rounds, where I tested my designs of new article formats on prospective readers of the Journal.
New article format prototypes included web redesigns, Snapchat discover stories, platform native graphics for Instagram and Twitter, and video animations.