AFP - Agence France Press

Digital transformation pitch: User-centred process (2018)


Agence France Press asked Publicis.Sapient to pitch for a digital transformation process focusing on a user-centric understanding of the challenges faced by AFP and journalists.

Our approach: To illustrate the design thinking process, making it tangible and concrete

Design processes can appear pretty abstract to the non-initiated. Lean UX, Agile, Design Thinking, Double Diamond, Digital Transformation, all the jargon can sometimes leave people struggling to understand what you're actually proposing. So we conducted and documented an exercise to illustrate the 4-step process we'd follow together.


A user-centric process mixing double diamond with lean:
1. Discover
2. Define
4. Validate & iterate: test-measure-learn


1. Discover: Conduct research and gain insights

I started by setting up a few 1-hour interviews with journalists, AFP's main user base, in order to understand their day-to-day lives, context, needs, frustrations and aspirations, with a focus on their use of AFP and its competitor's products and services. I also asked the UX team to conduct a quick usability review of AFP's main product, the Forum, the main source for a newsfeed used daily by thousands of journalists across the globe.


2. Define: synthesize research and define the problems to solve

After talking to 5 journalists it became possible to create an experience map highlighting their key painpoints and opportunities for innovation. We couldn't talk to other kinds of AFP client, for example brands or corporate clients, so we focused our exercise on journalists, their main user base.



3. Generate: multiple divergent solutions to the problems identified

Once we identified the main challenges and opportunities we could start ideating new features, products or services to create value for both existing and new user bases beyond the current offer. After generating over 50 concepts I fine-tuned them to align them with the original observatins and insights, in order to create maximum value for users.

4. Validation: Test-measure-learn

Finally it was time to verify which of our assumptions about value creation were correct. I palnned and conducted a series of generative testing sessions with journalists and gained a better notion of the relative value of each concept, as well as deeper insights and understanding of user needs.


Product Strategy

Test results helped see more clearly which concpts were most promising, it became easier to prioritise them for inclusion on a roadmap. It also became clearer which concepts created differentiation and advantages when compared with AFP's main competitors such as Reuters, Bloomberg or AP.



After illustrating the process for AFP, we just had to tell the story and make it presentable. The UI designers had participated on the ideation sessions so it was easy to brief them on what was important to illustrate and what was secondary, rendering the features real and tangible. Everything was then integrated into our AFP pitch answer, a 40-page booklet outlining the design process as well as other business and tech issues.