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Enlight fights “fake news” by helping users to assess

the veracity of what they read and to access better

sources of the information they want.

MFA Interaction Design Thesis | Aug 2017 - May 2018


Identifying the Problem 
and project scope
Research and concept 
Design solution 
Usability testing 
and iterations

Secondary research

Contextual research​

Demographic study

Concept testing

User's behavior study

Target platform study

User interface design

Visual Design

Interactive prototype 

Information assessment logic

User testing 

Quantitative analysis

Qualitative analysis

Addressing the core problem

Like other information, fake news has a starting point but it does not have an ending point. In between, three reasons keep the fake news and false information alive.

Illusory truth effect

The implausibility of this false information creates familiarity and constitutes a boundary condition on the illusory truth effect.

Content overload

People are being exposed to fake news and false information with much greater frequency.


evaluation process

The user needs to depend on Google or other web sources to evaluate information, which is a manual time consuming process.



Platforms that deliver fake news


Instant Messenger

Fastest peer to peer information transfer network.



Provides end to end encryption.

The messages get sent to and received by friends and family. This personal touch makes it a more impenetrable echo chamber.




Monthly active instant messenger users - 2018*

Instant messengers are a primary source of news in developing countries like India

Instant messengers (IM) like Whats App, Facebook messenger, and WeChat are very popular.



Understanding target demographic

Contextual Research







Minutes spent 

on IM per day 

Hard to distinguish

between real and fake”

“I get tons of messages every day,often repeated once

“I often have doubts but validation process is time consuming.

People do not prefer to read entire article most of the time. 

Lack of awareness: what to look for while validating messages.  

The good or reliable news is objective as well as subjective.

Behavior Study

Collage and Mapping

A set of 12 pre-existing pictures were given to the user to sort into groups or make a collage in a way that makes meaning to them. Once the collage or groups are formed users can express their thoughts behind the collage formation.


If people find something doubtful, they treat it differently.

Some of the pictures are purposefully photoshopped for the exercise but none of the users were able to identify them as a fake.

Perform a Task

A task of identifying fake news was given to five users. Once participants finished the task, they were asked to express how they identified the fake news.

Users avoid reading: The tested prototype provided various detailed information to explore, which users tended to avoid. 

If the user has a specific doubt about any skeptical content, the proposed prototype includes all the necessary dimensions to evaluate the information. However, this resulted in content overload and the evaluation process was left unfinished.

Starting point

Understanding target platform


Whenever fake news comes from the outer domain to the instant messenger ecosystem, one infected user will eventually infect all users because users are directly or indirectly connected to each other. Because the user group is formed by friends and family the news continues to spread as opposition is highly avoided in Indian culture, thus, the fake news remains in the IM ecosystem.


There have been scenarios where people have created fake news and false information within the instant messenger ecosystem and tried to spread these messages. 

Design solution


Enlight Setup

Enlight works as a feature in Instant Messenger.  

A user needs to switch on Enlight from IM settings. 


The problem of

Starting point

The problem of


is resolved by

Alert user before the 

information is sent further

At the bridge level, Enlight will help the user to learn more about such message before forwarding.


A user named Anu found an intriguing story on Twitter and she would like to share it with her friend.


No ending point

is resolved by

User perception validation 

Enlight provides an opportunity for users to react and open a window to learn and validate their doubts.


Neha forwards a message to a friend Anu. 

Anu, who receives it, has a doubtful feeling about it.

Enlight UI flow

The big question: How news is getting assessed.

Enlight uses Google News API as a primary database source. Based on the API Enlight looks for five parameters but having these five parameters does not ensure the authenticity of the news. Each parameter has different criteria to verify the news.

User testing

Three rounds of user testing have been completed. Each testing round was performed with a new set of users and different objectives. User testing helped gather user's behavioral and functional performance quantitative data, which lead to an improved user experience. 


Round 3

User testing results analysis 



"Liked the idea of setting the reliability scale is in my hands."


"It's good that I do not need to jump between multiple web links to assess news."


"Reading news is better now, at least I can get to know that how much it is fake and real"

"I like the idea that within the chat window I can suggest my friend to see the reliable side of the news"

"Best thing I like is I am not gonna see the fake message again and again."


Only one user visited the full article.


Familiarity with Facebook feature of reacting on individual message helped to ease the flow.



Users got confused when they set one parameter and other moved by itself. They thought since it is a prototype they can only set one as an example.

Benefits of Enlight


Using parameters and rationales behind it. 


Provides an opportunity, where one can react and read to clear doubts within the chat window. 


Compared to manually searching through websites. 


Takes care of fake message and false 

information overload. 

Major takeaways 

The project helped me to take responsibility to define the timeline from identifying the problem to the final execution of the design.


It provided opportunity, where I can use the user-centered approach as well as system design approach to deliver design solution. 


Often users actions are contradicting. This project provided an opportunity to observe and learn user's mindset to propose accurate solutions.


While defining fake news evaluation criteria, so much missing information and lack of data availability issues came upfront. The openness of news media platform opens an extensive opportunity for fake news and false information to manipulate readers.


There is an opportunity for gathering and restructuring the current news media data, so it will become easier to evaluate fake news. 


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