The Ken’s subscription critique

the ken

What is Ken?

It’s a digital newspaper focusing on business. They write super detailed stories and have newsletters.

What is this about?

So, I wanted to read a business article that came in my email from The Ken. But to read it I had to subscribe to their service. I found their subscription page a bit confusing. So, I thought why not try making it more simple. Here, my try. (Hoping if this is useful🤞)


This section is about — as a user what I felt was confusing.

  1. As a user when I wanted to subscribe but the naming convention of the subscription packs confused me. What do Borderless and Echelon mean? Are these just fancy words or do they mean anything specific which I should know? Also, which one is for me? I am an average reader who likes to be up to date with business news and analysis.
  2. What does “original and reported longform business story” mean? I think “original” is redundant since they write all their stories. Just saying “5 business stories every week” would have conveyed the information, adding extra adjectives just makes your user spend more time on reading things that he is not here for.
  3. Premium offers 5 and Borderless offers 8 business stories. Does that mean, the product won’t show me 3 stories every week for being a Premium user? Which are those 3 stories I don’t get to see? What if they’re relevant to me? Do I pay extra then? 😥
  4. Premium offers “250 stories” and Borderless offers “400 stories” every year. Isn’t this the same piece of information as the above point? i.e. 5 business stories per week, 52 weeks that is around 250 stories for the Premium pack. I am guessing A/B testing must have shown that adding this particular line improved sign-ups for Borderless pack more. I am assuming potential customers who have less time, see 400>250 so let me pay for Borderless.
  5. Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories”, well as a user why does this concern me? You can give me 10 years' worth of stories but in order for it to be my concern, it has to be relevant to my own problems. We need to connect the dots here for the user and not make him use his brain. 1 dot - user's own problems; 2 dot — past stories solving that problem we need to connect the dots so users can make their decision faster.
  6. Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters”, what are these newsletters? As a user, I will find these newsletters on the website before I subscribe and see are they worth it.
  7. These are some top of the issues I saw, not going too deep, let’s think about how we can solve the user's pain points.


Here, I will be trying to address the points we discussed in the Critique.


  1. Borderless and Echelon are gone. Professional and Advanced packs here we come. If you see I have connected the naming of these pack at the bottom, by telling the users who are these packs ideally for. For example Professional pack is for PM, Biz dev, etc. I am hypothesising users find these categorization relevant and we see higher conversions.
  2. Hyperlinking business stories, newsletter, etc and talking about them in a simple and descriptive language. User needs to understand what they get out of the Ken’s subscription with clear cut examples. Users only give a shit about themselves, so lets make the subscription page on how they can become from Mario to Super Mario using this product.
  3. At last, showcasing how much does a subscription cost per day makes the annual plan of 5K less daunting. Seeing, Rs 14(approx) per day for a subscription feels cheap. Something I would like to test — Does my redesign confuse users and they get an idea that they have to pay Rs 8 daily for this. But this can be easily resolved by brainstorming with an designer and few folks in company.

Ending Note:

  • I haven’t resolved all the points here and there can be some grammar mistakes. Since, I didn’t have a lot of time. Things I missed here or future iterations which can be done: how to talk about premium newsletter, what visual stories are, podcasts,bonus subscription etc.
  • I also had an idea to talk about pricing per day being cheaper than food delivery charges or something catchy which lows down the subscribers guard to pay 5K.
  • Languages changes are much needed where I would do like make everything more simple. Also words like “both India and SEA” in subscription sounds repeatative and boring.


I am writing product critiques to improve my product sense. If you have suggestions please feel free to comment or DM me. :)

Harpreet Vishnoi




Product Manager | Writer | Reader.

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Harpreet Vishnoi

Harpreet Vishnoi

Product Manager | Writer | Reader.

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