Improving how users find and discover content on The Athletic’s mobile apps — while also unlocking new capabilities for our newsroom and content programming team.
As the entry point to the stories on the platform, the feed sits at the core of The Athletic’s mobile experience — it’s the first thing users see when they open the app. Up until 2021, the original design had served our needs well and stayed relatively the same. However, as our audience, content volume, and brand/marketing needs grew, we started running into challenges.
First off, we lacked any curation or content programming — we had relied on a purely chronological feed, so there was no way for our newsroom to elevate important articles or even group similar stories. Another big concern was that in the old design, titles were overlaid on top of images, which caused difficulties with contrast and severely hindered artwork and photography.
The original feed, highlighting some of it’s shortfalls.
From the start, we designed with a module-based approach.
Our main challenge was satisfying numerous stakeholders at once — our newsroom, brand/editorial, content programming, and of course, the end user. To tackle this, we essentially started from scratch and designed the new feed through a library of individual modules, enabling us to work quickly, be flexible, and experiment with reordering or hiding certain modules.
Across the board, updates focused on improving legibility and letting custom artwork shine. New curation modules allowed grouping similar articles, enabling our programming team with tools to organize and promote content. Combined with refinements to podcasts, headlines, and scores modules, the result is a new feed that is more relevant, timely, and visually compelling.
Post launch, our analytics team tracked how the new feed affected our core metrics. The results showed a significant increase in the overall usage of our app.