Refining the mobile news experience

The AP News app and apnews.com deliver breaking local, national and global news directly from The Associated Press. The challenge was to consolidate previous versions of the AP mobile app and news sites into a unified experience that did a better job delivering an experience that aligned with our users' needs and preferences. Given that the AP is primarily a news organization that licenses content, AP News provides important data to the organization around trends and patterns of digital storytelling and user interactions.

MY ROLE:

  • UX
  • Visual design
  • Content strategy
  • Product strategy
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AP News app and top stories on apnews.com

Embracing constraints

One of the key objectives in designing and developing AP News was to create design patterns and templates that allowed for highly customized content creation but also worked for the majority of stories that are fed automatically into the CMS. That meant testing and adjusting to ensure that content length, aspect ratios and a wide range of content embeds would render properly in all viewport sizes and wouldn't break layout when absent from a story.

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Listening and learning

We received helpful qualitative insights from feedback emails and user comments and we also learned from A/B testing and rolling out changes to small groups of users first. These tests gave us confidence in moving to a new navigation paradigm that included a bottom tab bar with the top stories displayed first in the feed followed by the most recent stories.

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View of top stories, article and featured topic

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Group sketch concepts for app and website features

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Promo panel, story template and gallery views

Content first

As a designer, being able to showcase AP photography is a true honor. Especially considering the many severe challenges AP photographers, videographers and journalists face in the field.

In the interest of design serving the content, great consideration was given to preserve the true aspect ratio of each photo and not impose artificial crops.

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Share images for social media posts

Outcome

Both the AP News app and website have quickly evolved to support many key goals of the AP. Since 2016, the app has grown to 1.8M active users while the website receives roughly 15M monthly visitors. The app and site combined generate more than $7 million in revenue, with 31% generated by the app.

In addition, the app and website provide sponsorship opportunities, create value for AP customers and members and offer the ability for statistically significant A/B testing, leading to a more data aware culture.