POLITICO is the go-to news organization for all things Washington. With readership across the country—and around the world—their website attracts 17 million unique views every month. As the organization that set the bar for new media companies in D.C., POLITICO had a clear sense for what they were looking for in a news site:
Modern. Photo-forward. Innovative.
POLITICO is known for its scoops and its ability to maintain the pulse of all the city’s movers and shakers. The publication had the goal of making this element of the brand come through more directly. With the team’s initial ideas and the thousands of content pages that would need a new home, we knew that this was going to be a fun challenge.
Design & Dev
Test & Innovate
We worked with POLITICO's digital team to relaunch both visually and conceptually. The team was open to any and all ideas. No idea was too crazy to consider. We iterated and debated, leaving only the best for the final version.
Designing alongside immensely talented in-house Director of User Experience, Christian Buddie, we brought our own perspective to the redesign. PSDs were swapped back and forth Layer Tennis style. The credit for the final product is certainly shared among the entire team—but the visual elements are a mish-mash of Chris and Mike’s ideas.
One of the design concepts we’re most proud of is “The Latest” section, which shows users new stories as they’re posted live to the site.
Through user testing we were able to discern how people perceived The Latest to work, and through multiple iterations created this logic. It’s what made the most sense to users without explanation. It just works.
- User visits POLITICO for the first time, The Latest indicator shows the default time icon
- New story is posted to the website, and the indicator changes to “1”
- User clicks on The Latest indicator, activating The Latest and viewing the story summary
- Story is marked as read, the indicator goes back to the default time icon
- User leaves POLITICO and returns 40 minutes later
- 13 stories have been posted in that time, so the indicator shows “13”
- The Latest is fully responsive, and swipeable—so it works on tablets and phones. It receives data without a page reload and can alert you to new stories without disturbing the experience.
“After nearly a hundred revisions, the POLITICO team needed someone to come in and help them push the new website design over the finish line. It’s a common challenge for internal teams that have simply spent a long time in the trenches of a project. We were grateful for their trust to give our team the baton and sprint. In the end, we delivered what we were all looking for: a beautiful design with intuitive user experiences that was ahead of the curve from many of the other leading media websites.”
Testing the Readership
This project consisted of over 25 user testing and interview sessions. We showcased prototypes, collected feedback, and ran tests with staff members from CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and individuals at the highest levels of business and government. Testing also focused on young professionals, students, cause advocates, and the general public to gain perspective on this vastly new experience.
With clever features like “The Latest,” we boosted average time on site across the board while creating a sticky feature driving loyal, repeat-visitors. Beyond these business metrics, we were also proud to partner with such a talented internal team and work toward shipping a re-imagining of this flagship site.
As the dust settled, we were thrilled with the results: through intense collaboration, extensive user testing, and a healthy dose of creativity, we were able to deliver a final product that pushed the design envelope, while supercharging the business goals of POLITICO’s advertising team.