What if a newspaper was designed using principles of user experience design?

What if a newspaper was designed using principles of web user experience design*? That’s the question that design agency Information Architects asked themselves when they put together a pitch for Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. They lost the pitch, but the blog post about their ideas is fascinating reading for anyone interested in usability and reinventing the print package for a multiplatform world.

front page

Their innovations included making the text scannable with blue text for key words (see above), high contrast, and being limited to two fonts. They cleaned up the logo (optimising it, essentially), and printed comments next to the articles they commented on. The blog post contains lots more images. In addition, they’ve put the original PDFs of their pitch online too – linked below:

Garcia Media has more context including why Garcia felt they failed.

H/t: Adrian Short. *I should have said user experience design not web design, which was the original headline.


9 thoughts on “What if a newspaper was designed using principles of user experience design?

  1. Adrian Short

    Much of my work at the moment is around linking the physical (including print) and digital worlds. What’s interesting about this design (among other things) is the way in which the blue highlighted keywords are given specific prominence and meaning within the newspaper’s website’s search:

    [I]f you type any of those key words on the website search, you will get a list of articles in a chronological order about that subject. Links in print obviously doesn’t mean that you can click it, it means linking the paper to the online edition.

    This is a much more elegant and aesthetic approach than printing URLs.

  2. Nicolas Holzapfel

    Very interesting idea of theirs, thanks for bringing it to my attention (via Twitter). However they didn’t implement their stated aim to ‘use all knowledge from contemporary user experience design and translate it to paper’.

    What they actually did was take well-established principles about web usability and translate them to paper. User experience design involves much more than. User research and actual usability testing were the most glaring omissions.

    What they did was still really interesting and valuable, it just wasn’t what they say it is in their blog.

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  4. Bill Bennett

    My training may have been a long time ago, but one thing drummed into me was “people read down, not across”. It’s wisdom that has been lost to the newspaper business ever since The Guardian started its ruled-off, flat looking redesign many years ago – but I’m surprised the idea doesn’t appear to feature in the example shown of Information Architects’ work.

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