LUKE TUDOR GRIFFITHS
Product & Art direction
Luke Tudor Griffiths is a lead product designer for The Financial Times, an art-director of an independent magazine called Accent, and the creative director of a health and wellness festival called LoveFit. I studied graphic design at The University of Brighton and visual communication at The Royal College of Art.
Please scroll down to see my work.
I joined the Financial Times in April 2017, just after the website had been relaunched — a phase of iteration and rationalisation of the newly released product. The company has around 900k subscribers and growing, with a goal to reach 1 million by 2020.
My role is a mix of hands on design and leading projects, working with product owners and stakeholders to discover ideas quickly and to decide the best ways to get answers for our very specific user problems. I am simultaneously concerned with the quality of craft applied to the work, alongside the ease-of-use of all channels within the product. I work closely with our research team to gain invaluable insights as to how to move best forward, believing that good work is a carefully balanced mix of intuition and research — attempting to look backward and forward at the same time. In addition to this I mentor other team members, run social occasions (teams need to be happy!) and contribute to the working processes at the FT.
As part of the Tailored Experiences team, I was charged with looking at one of FT.com’s biggest engagement drivers, called MyFT. A system by which users can follow topics or authors and get briefings or notifications on subjects that are relevant to them. Much of the work during this time was analysing a large volume of research and creating a series of concepts to bring the product forward.
The redesign of this feature involved cleaning up the existing UI patterns and rationalising the extensive development conducted over a number of years by the Tailored Experiences team. This feature of the FT has reached a certain level of maturity, and I envision that once enough data and learnings have been collected, it will move into its next manifestation in a more invisible, intelligent way. It is very much a version one of what it can and will grow to be.
The user can discover this feature in a number of ways. They could be reading an article and decide to follow the corresponding topic by clicking the "add to myFT" button, they could also receive a notification or they could go directly to it by clicking their "myFT" icon from anywhere in the website.
Upon discovery of the feature, a contextual on-boarding may or may not take place, dependent on how many topics the user is following, and whether they need to follow more topics. For example, if the user is following nothing, they will be presented with a "cloud" of topics to get them started, and to generate their first iteration of a feed — which they can edit and personalise further at a later date.
Once an initial feed has been created, the user can start exploring and reading content based on the topics they are following. The use cases for this product have proved to be very broad, and it could be easy to cater for super-users alone — users that tend to use every feature with much competence. Based on this we need a tool that serves both this group and newer, or less committed users alike. Say you are a consultant to many industry types: you would need to be able to stay up to date on a broad range of topics, and the knowledge you require would often change, potentially on a daily basis. Alternatively, you may be working in a specific role in a niche industry, so your topics would be fairly fixed. That being said, subjects such as "Brexit" and "US Politics" could be influential in a broader range. Ultimately the tool needs to be simultaneously as simple and accurate as it can be, without so much complexity that it is unmanageable.
Once users are on-boarded and have started to understand the feature, we need ways to promote and surface topics and content that we think could be relevant to them. This takes many forms to be expanded upon in future, including: a "ribbon" of recommended stories based on the reading history and topics being followed; a popular topics component that recommends topics and provides example content in the form of the illusion of a content package; a curated topic "collection", that is curated by the editorial team, surfacing some of our superstar topics that play a larger role in our news agenda; a myft "navigator" that is placed on articles and stream pages and can be interacted with in the context of a user reading content.
I was part of the dedicated team that was tasked with looking at improving the overall reading experience across FT.com. We worked closely with the newsroom to identify and build solutions to both production, and user problems. Projects included a redesign of the article page, a rationalisation of article based onward journeys, a system for live news, the introduction of related content, and much more.
In 2018 the FT partnered with Qualtrics to have one solution for conducting research and surveys online. The reason for this move was the result of many areas of the business paying for an array of different research tools, all with their own ways of measuring. The move would bring consistency and savings in the time and money that it used to take to interpret these findings. I made an onsite mechanism to collect users thoughts.
We will still be conducting face to face interviews with our customers as part of our qualitative research. I worked with the team to create an onsite mechanic and with Qualtrics directly to make sure we have a consistent brand within their ecosystem too.
A simple solution that allows the user to rate their experience based on an ease of use question. Ease of use was of particular focus, as we had found an issue that users were often referring to the content of the product, as opposed to the product itself.
Upon rating the ease of use of the product, the user has an opportunity to clarify the rating they gave in a text field. Once they have submitted they receive a message to acknowledge their response and these are recorded and reviewed by the research team.
In 2017 I worked with the newsroom to I created a series of inline components to help editors tell better stories. These are things like quotes, big numbers, larger, richer imagery and combinations of both. One of the most powerful aspects of this work, is the ability to create inline amalgamations of elements to create informative layouts specific to the content at hand. We called this the laoyout component.