National Geographic's flagship mobile iOS and Android app provides an elegant way for users to access exclusive photography, magazine archives, video content, and a feed of digital articles. Personalization at its core, the app delivers only the most relevant content to the user's interests. In 2019, it was awarded a Webby for best in-class mobile UX 🏆
The National Geographic app originally launched in the Australian market in partnership with the telecom company, Optus. For the US launch, National Geographic’s goals were to improve the user experience, align with updated brand guidelines, and to provide a platform that is scalable with changing business initiatives and opportunities in new markets.
When I first began working with National Geographic, I was tasked with auditing the existing, Australian app in terms of the quality of the user experience and visual design. The stakeholder team was looking for opportunities for improvement or areas that broke best practices so that they could be fixed before a rollout in the US. I provided them a comprehensive review of the app broken out by the themes: usability, accessibility, visual design, extensibility, localization, and motion. Each item, 73 in all, included a screenshot, description, recommendation, and a t-shirt sizing to convey importance. This audit was presented to the technical leadership of National Geographic and helped inform the development of the roadmap.
Legacy apps that handled magazine subscriptions, SSO, and accounts created through National Geographic's website created many authentication flows that needed to be thought through and diagrammed for stakeholders and the development team. In addition, in-app purchases added a whole other set of platform-specific flows that needed to be created to provide a smooth, unified experience for first time users or existing National Geographic subscribers. Below is one of many flows that was created in this effort.
Working with National Geographic designers, we implemented an intuitive and welcoming onboarding experience that handles a number of complex authentication flows, in-app purchases, notification permissions, and personalization.
The primary section in the updated app is a set of feeds that organize content by "Read, "Look," and "Watch." In addition, the "For You" feed combines all forms of content related to both your preselected interests and viewing behavior—improving as the user consumes content.