CLIENT: Fairfax Media
Achievement: UX REdesign of a mobile site



The Sydney Morning Herald is one of the leaders in the Australian online news and information market. The mobile audience is constantly increasing with a growth of 24% year on year in 2013. The challenge of this redesign was to increase relevance and utility as well as maintain a competitive edge on user experience.





One thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that there is no point redesigning a product for the sake of it. Keep what is working (‘If it’s not broken don’t fix it’) and create additional value on top of that. To do so, we needed to get some user insights:


  • feedback on the current mobile site, what they like and dislike
  • information on how they consume mobile news (patterns, behaviours, context, etc.)

Due to time constraints we decided to hire an external agency to conduct quantitative and qualitative research in a short period of time.

In parallel, I worked on a Mobile benchmarking. I went through a countless number of mobile apps and mobile sites to identify trends, best practices and generate ideas for potential features, content or design opportunities.

 Click to view an extract of the report

The agency delivered a 110 page report containing lots of interesting findings, so I started to think about a way to communicate the essential information to the project team. I came up with a clear mapping of the user journeys and the content/feature opportunities.




 Extract of the user journey: “A day in the life of our users”

Based on the research results and the mobile benchmarking, the Product manager and I worked on prioritising the new features/content ideas to implement. From there, I started to work on mid-fidelity wireframes. I didn’t focus on the minor details at this point, the idea being to move as soon as possible into the design phase.




 Mid-fidelity wireframes


Most of the work was done during long design sessions with me and the Front-end developer sitting at the Visual designer’s desk. We made sure to iterate on a regular basis with the Product manager, the Editorial and the Sales teams.We managed in this way to ensure a high-quality output.



 Homepage design



Working for a very popular digital brand has some advantages: We were able to get instant user feedback on the social networks, a few hours after launch. During the first few weeks, the Product Manager and I spent a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook reading user’s reactions. We also got interesting and detailed feedback from Kampyle (Feedback tool). We managed through this to identify a couple of significant frustrations that we fixed in a very short period of time.