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"Sky News for iPad" app

Sky UK / 2011-12

imagine a completely new way to put breaking news in your hands

Sky UK released Sky News for iPad shortly after the launch of the original Apple iPad:

 

3 primary unique features

Sky News for iPad was revolutionary for its time due to its immersive, non-linear UI allowing for a completely new way of experiencing breaking news and live video:

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TOP STORY TIMELINE
Stories are pushed to the app in realtime meaning Sky customers are able to follow the day’s news as each individual story unfolds.

The stories are also prioritised to users and curated by importance.

IMMERSIVE STORIES
Sky customers were able to unravel key moments from the last 24 hours by 'jumping' through to key events as they broke, before serendipitously pivoting to related stories..

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SECOND SCREENING FOR LIVE TV
Sky customers could watch live news directly within the Sky News app (in 2011, Sky was first to launch this feature).

An intuitive picture-in-picture floating live stream was also designed specifically for customers wanting a lean-back, "second-screen" experience.

 

my responsibilities

I was responsible for designing the models and concepts surrounding the above 3 primary unique features. This included:

  • The creation of app workflow and user journeys
  • key state/screen/transition and storyboards
  • UI wireframes
  • Final UI designs
 User flow - including some very early low-fidelity wireframes

User flow - including some very early low-fidelity wireframes

 

Prototyping not just the look, but also the feel

Many of the screens, states, components and their interactions were mimicked using prototyping software (including using basc interaction tools provided within Apple Keynote) in order to gather rapid feedback from a panel of end-users. This allowed me to quickly iterate and finesse the design direction; not just the look, but also the feel.

Additional tasks included devising initial visual scamps for the basic concepts and models to be used within the app, as well as final artwork designs.

shared space; shared mindsets

The Sky News for iPad team set up a war room. I plastered the walls full of initial sketches and drawings, wires and storyboards for daily, constructive reviews with other product leads.

Desirable, Viable and Feasible

Many of the best ideas were built upon and key decisions made this way; by quick group consensus within our shared space. This ensured that what we were designing was desirable (tested well by customers), viable the business and Product Owners's perspective, as well as technically feasible — as engineers and developers were part of my design process.

Working lean made the entire process of design inclusive, tactile and progressive.

 War room walls

War room walls

 Quick sketches

Quick sketches

  War room walls showing some final wires and designs

War room walls showing some final wires and designs

 The war room could have done with a window :)

The war room could have done with a window :)

 Designing the final UI

Designing the final UI

the result: a chart-topping launch

The app was highly praised by bloggers and critics for pushing the boundaries of news consumption; especially for it's innovative navigation and immersive visual interface. 

Sky News for iPad also topped the iTunes iPad app chart upon release:

  Sky News for iPad on it's release in the Apple App Store 


Sky News for iPad on it's release in the Apple App Store 

  Sky News for iPad topped the Apple App Store charts


Sky News for iPad topped the Apple App Store charts

 Sky News for iPad won a number of awards throughout the industry

Sky News for iPad won a number of awards throughout the industry