2013 Mobile Awards

mobile, web, IoT, desktop, connected devices
design champion, best studio, best start-up & IoT
plus 20 specialist nomination categories

demand design, celebrate courage

ABC Flagship Apps [DRAFT]




Project Overview

The ABC relaunched its flagship mobile apps for iOS and Android in March 2013, doubling the number of monthly active users in four months. New installs (reach) have increased by eight fold, confirming the ABC’s success and leadership in the mobile space.

The apps now have a stronger focus on News, presenting content from across the ABC (Radio, TV, Online) by genre.

Since relaunch, all three are now ranked #1 free NEWS app in the App Store and Google Play, receiving rave reviews from users:

As always, the ABC sets the benchmark. Excellent!!!
by Big red 999, v 3.0.1, Australia


Australian Broadcasting Corporation


- Amy Nelson, UX Design
- Brendan Kerrison, XML Lead
- Gabby Shaw, Research
- Gemma Gray, Marketing Coordinator
- Jeanette Clarke, Project Manager
- Manuela Davidson, Executive Producer - Mobile
- Mark Dando, Head of Online and Mobile
- Mary Nolan, Research
- Nicholas Gledhill, XML Development
- Peter Marshall, UX Leadership
- Sarah Fawcett, UI Design
- Trevor Gillespie, Operations Manager
- Warren Armstrong, Tech Lead (iOS) and developer (Android)
- Gomeeki, API and iOS front-end developer

Project Brief

This project started with a deep look into what the ABC was getting right, what we needed to change to meet users needs and a thorough review of what the competition were doing.

The first breakthrough: understanding that the National Broadcaster’s traditional competition had changed. As audiences embrace digital and shift their media consumption habits, new entrants (e.g. Flipboard) and social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) influence the rise of a new media landscape. To continue as a strong player, the ABC needed to re-position its content offering and “lift its game”.

The three apps as well as the back-end infrastructure supporting them were completely re-imagined and rebuilt in 5 months. Some of the key drivers for the redevelopment were:

1. Simplicity: all the content, none of the hurdles
2. Serendipity: promoting content discovery beyond focus
3. Consistency within context: keeping the ABC experience consistent while adapting to the different user flows on iOS and Android
4. Content by genre: everything about my topic of interest in one place (TV

As result, we have:

1. Added inline audio and video to article pages;
2. Adopted two alternative navigation paradigms: via the hamburger menu and via linear page turns, taking users from one genre to another as they swipe;
3. Scrutinised iOS and Android SDKs to identify nav items and features that made sense to each user group;
4. Created contextual bars offering TV and Radio content that is related to the category genre

Project Need

The new and improved ABC flagship apps offered a great experience for our users, free, and delivered new & innovative features such as the Wake up with the ABC alarm, which enables users to wake up with their preferred ABC TV or Radio program from a mix of 40 live and on demand streams.

The feature was designed to act as an early engagement tool for users of the app – an invitation to keep browsing for more after you watch or listen to your selected ABC program.

While not core to the ABC flagship apps, the alarm feature triggered the interest and social buzz we were hoping for, contributing to our viral marketing campaign and attracting new users to our apps.

“Excellent update, particularly like "wake up to" function. Best news App. Always quality news.” - by 10 thumbs, a month ago, v 3.0.1, Australia

“Highly informative. Easy to understand layout. No regrets whatsoever downloading this wonderful app as I simply love the ABC (since I was knee high to a grasshopper!). Keep up the good work ABC staff!!!!! :-)” - by OziBlue, 2 days ago, v 3.0.1, Australia

User Experience

Our challenge was to provide iOS and Android users with a consistent ABC experience, while respecting the differences between both OS. Key principles followed:
1. Simplicity
- Navigation must be intuitive, almost invisible;
- Identify and use standard UI elements for iOS and Android users - don't try to reinvent the wheel;
- Avoid cramming the app with too much content or features;
- Content should be easy to scan – headlines are a priority focus; don't over design overall UI and content panes;
- Make more content available up front;
- Layout should adapt to portrait and landscape;
- Make it easy for people to discover the broad range of high quality content the ABC has to offer;
- Strike the right balance between "stumbling" on new content and making the breadth of content and features too invisible or too hard to discover;
- Be aware that some users won't ever be in a serendipitous mode – others will be more often than not, and others will be open to it but yet be quite focused on tasks they want to perform in the app;
3.Consistency within context
- Ensure consistency between all of the ABC flagship apps (branding, navigation and layout) to provide a holistic user experience;
- Make it easier for users familiar with a particular OS to grasp how your app works using UI conventions where appropriate. At the same time, be aware that UI conventions are constantly shifting for iOS and Android.

Project Marketing

The ABC apps were rebuilt with a stronger focus on News and the marketing campaign supported the product re-positioning strategy in the Australian market. As such, the target audience was defined as:

- 35 to 54yo professionals living in Australia
- Owners of iOS/Android smartphones and tablets
- Interested in what’s happening in the world and around Australia (News)
- Looking for free and great quality content
- Existing and potential ABC audiences

The marketing plan included a combination of online and broadcast marketing activities, including but not limited to mobile advertising across Google Display Network and Facebook, TV and Radio promos.

All events, digital and offline, were tracked against app downloads via AppFigures, used to measure the efficiency of each planned activity.

On the digital side of things, we tracked performance of our marketing initiatives taking advantage of integration of GDN with Android and specific tracking codes provided by FB, which gave us a real understanding of how customers were reacting to our ads – “are they downloading the app in response to our ads?”. This knowledge helped us optimise our digital campaigns to ensure we were engaging with the right audience.

This category recognises applications that broadcast or diffuse news and current affairs.
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