Topic Tracker

Topic Tracker is a collaboration with :CRUX, made possible by the Google Digital News Innovation Fund. The FT and :CRUX are exploring further use cases for Topic Tracker technology.

What is Topic Tracker?

Topic Tracker is an engagement tool on FT.com, designed to increase your knowledge of the topics you’re reading about.

It maximises your knowledge of key strands of coverage within topics using advanced Natural Language Processing technology.

It does this by measuring your Financial Times reading history and suggesting the articles you have not read yet that best cover important elements of the topics. If you have been away from a topic for a while, Topic Tracker will suggest the most informative articles published since your last visit.

What is Topic Tracker?

Since the first launch of Topic Tracker at the end of 2018, the tool has gone through several iterations.

Initially Topic Tracker utilised gamification, showing you your progress of knowledge on a topic and giving points for reading. The articles recommended to read next were signalled using the number of points you would gain to help you get your score up.

old topic tracker user interface showing gamification elements

The version you see now is more subtle. Following customer research, we discovered the article recommendations were the most important aspect of the tool. We have also since removed the progress bar and points system, in favour of a clear article recommendation component which signals articles you may have missed..

New, more subtle, topic tracker user interface

Continuing exploration

As with any personalisation initiative, there are multiple facets of opportunity and learning to be had. The algorithm :Crux provide is enabling us at the FT to continue to explore the benefits of solving more problems for our readers using intelligent data science models.