UI Design

Dive Awards

  • Scannable Content — The 2016 Dive Awards lived on one page per publication and winners were not clearly visible, making the awards difficult to scan.
  • Storytelling — Editors were left with a tight word limit and minimal assets that didn’t always do justice to the award winner’s story. While we wrote clear narratives using original content, we often used images and data/graphs from reports that were not specific to the stories we wanted to tell.
  • Branding — There was no overarching brand to create a cohesive vision. We had a Dive Awards logo that our audience team sent out to winners, but the logo appeared nowhere on our site.
  • Differentiating the Content — Dive Awards content on the home and article page looked like a standard feature story.
Goal: Elevate the Dive Awards to increase industry visibility and pageviews.
Problem: The Dive Awards, the publication site's annual industry awards, contained many missed opportunities we could address through design.
Approach: Work with the editorial, ad operations, and marketing teams to redesign the Dive Awards content and signal the Awards to our audiences.
Final product: A new story format, enhanced in-article assets, site access points, and a strong brand threaded through the content and its promotions.
Process
Duration: 2017-2019 (3 mos. annually)
Role: Planning and execution of branded Awards; year-over-year reader and editorial process improvements
2017
  • Meet with editorial stakeholders to discuss goals. It was important to ensure editorial was invested in the outcome from an early stage and that I fully understood their vision for the long-term success of Dive Awards content.
  • Plan requirements. Based on the aspirational goals of the editorial team, I outlined a path forward that would use design to solve for missed opportunities.
  • Establish a Dive Awards brand. I chose a brand color unique from the traditional color palette used for editorial content. Gold most seamlessly communicated an honor. Graphic design created a logo using the new brand color that the marketing team could provide winners in press kits. The ribbon used in the logo was later used as a motif in some of the UI designs.
  • Create unique templates for Dive Awards content. Editors had unique goals for company awards, executive awards and the landing page. I redesigned the structure of each to enhance scannability and storytelling.
  • Enable editorial to request graphics and assets. To enhance editors' reporting and further highlight Dive Awards as premium content, I made about 120 in-article graphics for editors. (I started coding and designing by creating graphics and microsites in journalism school.) I created a spreadsheet and system so I wouldn't miss a request.
  • Rethink Dive Awards access points. Having invested a significant amount of time and effort across multiple teams, I wanted to ensure readers could easily access Dive Awards. I worked with the ad operations team to traffic house ads promoting the awards across the site. They also placed navigation spots for readers to navigate to other awards from within Dive Awards articles.
  • Coordinate rollout improvements to relevant teams. To implement Dive Awards in its first iteration, editors had to fill out code templates in Google Drive that I then manually placed. All editors were given an HTML tutorial.
2018
  • Minimize editorial coding requirement. Editors were able to much more easily place Dive Awards templates and did not need my assistance.
  • Streamline custom graphic creation with templates. For assets I new were popular in the previous year, I created code templates that other members of the design team could easily fill in with editorial content.
  • Train editors on a new graphic tool. The editors were trained and given guidelines for making and exporting charts in Google Sheets.
  • Establish a Dive Awards ambassadors program to ease project management. Coordinating with 60+ editors on Dive Awards proved a large undertaking and I needed to take a smaller role in the process, so I asked each publication to choose one Dive Awards ambassador who would be responsible for the team's Dive Awards knowledge.
2019
  • Fully integrate Dive Awards creation into the content management system. With the help of an article roundup tool Natalie Forman made and other content management system improvements, we were able to eliminate all coding requirements.
  • Add additional navigation through the label. The added navigation allows readers to easily go to the landing page for Dive Awards from any Dive Award article.
  • Design refresh. A change in editorial content strategy led to some slight UI changes.
Read more about the 2017 Dive Awards.
Challenges:
  • Dive Awards is now one of our most successful content types. Each year, they drive some of the highest pageviews and perform exceedingly well on social media. The Dive Awards rebranding not only improved the content type but has helped to uplift the brands of our publications.
Impact:
  • In 2017, we wanted to be ambitious, but we weren’t technically equipped to immediately implement the new story components in the CMS. As a result, implementation was complex and time consuming and cross-department coordination had to be carefully monitored. (In 2018, the coding effort was greatly reduced and in 2019, we were able to remove it all together.)