Smartocto has launched an ambitious project aimed at helping news websites better align with the preferences of their visitors. Ten newsrooms from various countries in Europe will collaborate for a period of six months within the framework of User Needs Labs.

The participants in this project will receive comprehensive training on understanding user needs by expert Dmitry Shishkin, who is joining this collaboration. The training will enable them to become pioneers in this field on a global scale. "It is essential that you ascertain why visitors specifically choose your website over that of your competitors," stated Rutger Verhoeven, the initiator of User Needs Labs, during the inaugural gathering.

Key components of the Labs initiative include:

  • Baseline: the analysis of one thousand articles, followed by the implementation of 'growth hacks'.
  • Establishment of a user needs-driven strategy: this involves an explanation and training in the quadrant model, the creation of unique dashboards, and the evaluation of the outcomes of the 'growth hacks’.
  • Enhancement of content & notifications: customised and automised tips and suggestions will be developed in consultation with the participating teams, based on a thorough analysis of collected data.
  • Implementation of reporting with user needs: newsrooms will receive practical guidance (including insights from peers) on how to seamlessly integrate the user needs approach into their daily workflow.

Smartocto wholeheartedly embraces the User Needs Model, viewing it as a crucial step for clients to gain deeper insights into the performance of their content, both successful and unsuccessful. Rutger Verhoeven says: "We are committed to assisting our customers in integrating the user needs approach into their daily operations, enabling them to maximise the potential of our tool."

The primary goal of User Needs Labs is to facilitate mutual learning and collaboration among all participants. Smartocto offers guidance to streamline time and effort investments. This marks the first time the editorial analytics company has organised such an initiative. While new participants cannot join at this time, media organisations are encouraged to reach out for assistance and collaboration opportunities.