These 11 responses show the challenges the news industry faces with building great UX

Why are media companies so challenged with creating a great user experience?

That was one of the key issues we were tying to get a handle on in our latest Local Media Association Innovation Index Report. The monthly reports provide insights into emerging trends and new business models. LMA has assembled a panel of 85 senior-level executives who are charged with growing digital revenue and/or audience at their local media company, who take part in this effort.

The August survey focused on User experience (“UX”), a hot topic in the industry, with cross-functional impact on audience development, consumer marketing, ad strategy, revenue optimization, and more. You can read the report here.

As part of the report we asked this question:

As you look across the industry, what is the #1 challenge that you think local media companies face when it comes to user experience?

Here are 11 responses that we thought were interesting and thought provoking:

• High cost of reworking CMS to better serve content while maintaining ad revenues and verticals — while also implementing a paywall.

• Declining efficacy of display ads in general. Studies are showing that people don’t even look at the ads that are there . Pop Up blockers too. So ultimately how to we provide a more native experience without ruining the news product.

• 1) Having some one (dedicated) actually in charge of user experience. 2) Having that person with the right background and training 3) Being smart enough to know if you are really making us r experience a priority with modern tools and methods vs. just saying “is this a good user experience?”

• Inconsistency. Not enough resources in a small operation to create that focus. Vendors do not have good info on best practices and leave to media companies to customize the experience.

• Keeping up with an evolving landscape of new product offerings and finding a balance b tween revenue and user experience while maintaining content that is free for all.

• The tendency to ‘slap another ad on the page ‘ for easy money since it actually does work. TV companies like to look at things year-over-year and you can end up in a big hole by ‘improving user experience’ with the removal of an ad partner.

• Differentiating and keeping the information fresh and relevant. Finding talent to produce the necessary content to keep the experience optimum.

• Finding O&O placements that are effective for clients, that aren’t masquerading as news and make sense within a news environment. I think a chunk of this comes down to creative strategy, which we spend very little time on.

• Selling out to every ad network out there . It’s very easy to clutter the sites with the numerous options available for monetizing impressions that are not sold locally. Some have come to depend on this as a revenue stream – we have tried to inch away from this and have been successful thus far in all but 2 of our markets at this point.

• If the content isn’t of a high quality, the user experience doesn’t matter. Junk in a nice box is still junk.

• Understanding that investing in developers and user experience is as important — if not more important if the current investment is low — as a newsroom hire.

You can download the UX report right here.