Advancing the power of facts

The Definitive Source, or blog.ap.org, was launched in 2014 with the goal to provide greater understanding of The Associated Press and transparency in its operations and mission. The blog also aimed to become a resource for journalists, media reporters, journalism students and advocates of the AP through insights and behind-the-news content covering a wide range of topics.

MY ROLE:

  • UX
  • Visual design
  • Content strategy
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Focusing on the author

Delivering an exceptional authoring experience was a primary objective from the beginning and was tested and validated throughout design and development. The CMS needed to be simple and intuitive for non-technical journalists, but flexible enough to allow for complex page layouts with a variety of embedded elements. And it needed to be quick and reliable.

Craft CMS was chosen and quickly proved to be both extensible and user-centered.

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Responsive from the start

It's hard to imagine anything other than a mobile first approach now, but at the time The Definitive Source blog was the first fully responsive website launched by The AP.

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Early stage content protoypes and visual design concepts

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Adaptive content cards

One feature that worked exceptionally well in design and testing was flexible content cards in the main feed view. Cards were designed to accommodate vertical and horizontal images, posts with no image and posts with related stories. In addition, the crop position could be set for each image and in the mobile view, the cards were optimized for quick scanning.

This had the potential to be confusing for content authors but was simplified through an iterative process where the workflow and terminology was simplified and tested. The result provides visual variation in the display without imposing undesirable crops on any of the photography.

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Outcome

The Definitive Source blog has steadily grown to an audience of more than 50K monthly active users. It's also become a critical media relations tool and an important historic record underscoring AP's commitment to transparency and objective reporting.

Investing early in identifying the objectives and needs of the many content authors and users of the site, proved successful as the blog has emerged as one of AP's most regularly updated content sites with a passionate and committed audience.