Racing Post iPad App

Racing Post iPad App

A native iPad app that allows customers to download a daily digital edition of the newspaper and use some useful digital tools to aid betting.

Download it from the app store


Newspaper App of the Year – The 2013 Newspaper Awards

The Brief

Design an app that migrates newspaper readers to purchase content and place bets on a digital product.

Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis survey slide

I began by examining online newspaper subscription packages and ‘reader’ experiences.

We surveyed our existing customers to determine digital buying habits and used that data to make some far-reaching predictions about the way consumers may pay for content in the future.

Style Guide

Moodboard of components for the style guide

We matched branding and content patterns from our flagship newspaper and a bet slip design from our mobile apps.

Creating a moodboard of heightened reality components aided art direction.

The ‘Room’ experience

Racing Post 'Room' experience

My team defined a heightened reality experience connecting each feature to a room. This became our design direction – new features would need to fit within the room environment.

While the world has since turned its back on such illustrative UI design, this highly visual experience aided marketing efforts and drew many positive app store comments.

Usability Testing

Example slide from usability test learnings

We conducted sporadic tests with the development app. The room concept worked in general but failed where applied too literally. Overall the reading experience faired well.

Custom CMS

CMS mockups for both desktop and mobile

Off-the-shelf solutions (Woodwing, WordPress etc.) were not capable enough for our business needs.

We needed a system to create downloadable daily editions and with mobile access for on-course reporters.

Once built, I was one of two people who trained ~20 journalists in how to use it, essentially treating operations as part of the design process.

Offline Sync

Allowing users to save their own copy of the edition proved to be one of the more complex areas of the design. Respect is due to those who can foresee every potential avenue for UX failure here.

Time of day, memory limits, and no-content-days were just a few of the reasons the ideal user journey might veer off-course. I will never again underestimate the this kind of design challenge in future projects.

Subscription Model

One less-glamorous aspect of the design was to craft sensible user journeys that worked within legal limitations of Apple’s app store subscription policies.

We had to be careful of automatic app store price changes, how the copy read, and whether we had any leaking points to subscribe on our site.

Customer Empathy

Improving empathy with customers by using our app in their environment

The app took over a year to design in full. During that time we regularly took our iPads to racecourses and spent the day in the shoes of our potential customers, attempting to pick winners using the app. We discovered real-life issues such as reading in bright sunlight and one-handed navigation. These experiences were invaluable in refining the UI and gave us confidence in the overall design concept.

What made it successful

  • It fulfilled the brief drawing in repeat subscription fees from its intended personas.
  • The coherence of each part of the UI allowed for sensible user journeys.
  • Offline access proved a valuable feature for tablet devices.

Your thoughts etc?