Ideas Section

In collaboration with Chris Sullivan, I designed the reading experience for Ideas, The Atlantic's new section of opinion and analysis-driven pieces.


The Problem

We needed to define what Ideas as a section would mean to readers and writers and convey it in an elegant, seamless reading experience that fit with The Atlantic's brand and spirit.


Initial Research

  • Surveyed designs on competitors' opinion sections, with a focus on opinion signaling, author bylines, and recirculation modules:
    • Bloomberg, New Yorker, NPR, Wired, Medium, NYTimes, Washington Post
  • Interviewed Ideas writers to determine what the section meant to them

Goals

  • Provide visual distinction that's different from regular coverage
  • Convey more nuanced depth and analysis than a normal article
  • Showcase the author's experience, perspective, and qualifications
  • Emphasize the author to build familiarity and trust with the writer

Wireframes

I created different author byline treatments to sit on our article pages.




User Testing

We conducted two types of user tests:

  • "Ideas" article label: what type of article do readers think of when they see an 'Ideas' label, and how is the label interpreted within the page hierarchy?
    • 29/40 said the article was opinion, the rest said news/investigative
    • 5/40 users called out the 'Ideas' title as a clue it was opinion

  • Author bylines: how does the author bio affect memory recall of the writer, and are they more likely to seek additional articles by this author?



    • Users had better recall of an author when a bio and/or photo was present (no difference between b&w vs. color)
    • Current byline offers no meaningful signal about author

Final Designs

Single byline


Double byline


Desktop byline




Angela Y. He

is a product designer with experience in UX/UI, front-end dev, and graphic design. Her passions lie in emerging tech + design for social impact.

Designing a clean energy future at Arcadia 🌱


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