Project summary 🗒️  


Increase time spent and game-playing for weekly active users by enhancing the discoverability and return engagement of The New Yorker’s puzzles and games.


I collaborated closely with product, engineering, and editorial counterparts in all phases of this project. I designed a distinctly playful and colorful section in the home feed where users could easily find and play the latest games, return to in-session games, and browse older games.


We observed an 11% increase in weekly game sessions. Users in our heavy-game-players cohort (5+ plays per week) have increased by 10%.


Puzzles and games are hard to find in the home feed and only the most recent games are accessible.



By making it easier for new users to find something to play and repeat users to find their next game, we will increase weekly active puzzle and game users and time spent.

Existing branding and hierarchy 🎨

The Puzzles & Games section needs to highlight all the offerings including Crossword, Cryptic and Name Drop. The challenge: how do we present the brand and game levels to users without confusing them?

The Crossword is unique because the level of difficulty depends on the day of the week, while Cryptic and Name Drop games don’t have varying difficulty levels and are published on different schedules.


Design Exploration 👾

During the creation of various iterations, I focused on balancing two key objectives:

  1. Exposing the games at the home feed level to increase the likelihood that users would notice and engage with a game directly from the home feed.
  2. Presenting user-friendly methods for users to explore more games through the listing pages. 

It quickly became apparent that there were challenges related to hierarchy. I needed to determine the priority: emphasizing the branded category level or highlighting individual games.

Maintaining the brand expression was crucial to effectively communicate the nature of the game and to provide a recognizable visual cue for users upon their return. However, I also needed to establish a clearer hierarchy for the brand level, ensuring users had straightforward access to jump directly into their desired game—right game, right level.


Emphasis on categories



Emphasis on individual games



Expression at both game and category level


Key Outcomes

The three explorations were reviewed in detail by editorial and product stakeholders. The key outcome:  it is not effective to treat all three games and puzzle brands in the same manner. The Crossword games require a different approach. 


Exposing crossword at game level


The final product ✨

In developing the new home feed module, we strategically included attention-grabbing promos for each of the three categories. This not only caters to readers, but also meets the distinct needs of both product and editorial stakeholders. Product stakeholders aimed for simplicity and efficiency in design, prioritizing a playful and gamified feel without overburdening our engineers. Editorial stakeholders sought to ensure users understand and engage with the games they want to play.

Users can now seamlessly access a full week of our flagship crossword game with varying difficulty options. The splash screen provides information on difficulty levels, also the new listing screen allows exploration of past game installments, providing a comprehensive archive.

Collaborative efforts between our team and stakeholders, each with diverse perspectives, culminated in a solution that was best for our subscribers.



Product Designer - Charlie Carlo
Content Designer - Danielle Vargas
Design Lead - Steven Striegel
Product Manager - Jesse Golomb
Engineers - Sawant Kumar, Preetha S, Arjun Gururajan
Editorial Collaborator - Liz Maynes-Aminzade, Nick Henriquez


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