Grabbing the Millenial Gaze...

My class was approached by USA Today and Partners and Napier to redesign the mobile USA Today Life section. Our goal was to explore a mobile-first solution that would attract more Millenial readers, from concept to execution. 


USA Today,  Partners and Napier



10 weeks

My Role:

Ideation, Info. Architecture, Wireframing, Visual Design, Animating, Presenting

This was supposed to be a group project where we worked in pairs, but my partner dropped out 3 weeks in.

So I worked twice as hard. 

What do readers want?

Instead of designing based on my own assumptions, I decided to ask around. I conducted an online survey of 18-35 year olds who like to read the news online. 40 people answered questions about sources, the news that catches their eye, and what news bothers them.


They hate bias and love USA Today's neutral position, but they think USA Today is boring. On top of that, most of them get news through social media, not news apps.

So how can we change that through design?

The Challenges

What's the best way to get Millenials to stay and keep reading?

Recommendations!  Using tags, current events and the right algorithms, readers would get hooked into the next article almost immediately. Popularity, or a number of comments and shares, also helps.

How do you attract a younger audience without alienating your current base?

I believe it'd be best to create a separate environment on the USA Today app, a place where tech-savvy users of all ages could personalize the news. Meanwhile, long-time USA Today readers would stay comfortable.

The Solution

Through all of this research and ideation, I decided to create a Discover feature -- a separate section on the USA Today app that hooks readers, gives them what they want and does it in a way that no other app does.

The first challenge was to map out how the Discover feature would work. Then I had to give it a fresh style, within the USA Today Brand Guidelines.

The first challenge was to map out how the Discover feature would work. Then I had to give it a fresh style, within the USA Today Brand Guidelines.

sketches2 copy

USA Today has hundreds of journalists around the globe, and they connect the wide range of topics covered with circles. Each circle represents a different subject on their website, app, and newspaper.

I chose to use circles for Life section topics because it's a well-defined part of their brand, and they crop photos/graphics quite well. Lots of other social media platforms are switching to circles because they also find it aesthetically pleasing.


The Details


I switched the body typeface to Baskerville, to keep a professional and stoic tone while also increasing trust and readability. I adapted the current grids so they work seamlessly across different devices.


With Collections, readers could follow topics, people, and stay more organized with the news they want. They can even share the Collection so other people could read the whole story rather than just one article.

USATL Article

Chris, a representative from USA Today, said that pop-up's for their newsletter and sidebars for sharing content weren't getting the ROI they aimed for. Based on that I decided to ditch the pop-up's and use a fixed footer so users can share wherever they are in the article.

My redesign would affect over 25 million readers and, based off of news apps with similar qualities, gain an estimated 150% increase in readers.

You can view the final deck here.

Thanks for viewing!

Chris Locke © 2018

Chris Locke © 2018

Chris Locke © 2018