“How we used design research to launch The New York Times en Español”

A year ago Juliette Melton led a design research field project to explore how The Times could best share its journalism with the Spanish-speaking world. What the team learned from that in-depth research — as well as from subsequent exploration — led directly to today’s launch of The New York Times en Español.

As researchers, we are always on the lookout for what we call “latent needs,” meaning something that could make someone’s life better, but which they might not flat-out ask for. One-on-one, contextual interviews are useful for helping us uncover these needs. During the first days of interviewing, we heard several participants say something along the line of: “In Mexico the news is only about things that worry you.” We took that to heart and started exploring what that meant to them. We learned that our participants were hungry for news that celebrated culture, that provided a sense of escape and enrichment, and that would be “fun for the weekend.” In response, we prototyped a sort of Sunday magazine feature, with stories about travel, home, love and culture, and shared that with the next participants. People loved it. That prototype eventually became what we are calling “Reposado.”