Redesigning a digital magazine experience

I served as Assistant Director of Ball State's Digital Publishing Studio in 2015 when Adobe retired its Digital Publishing product – the platform students used to design and publish tablet and phone apps – and replaced it with Experience Manager. I took advantage of the switch to rearchitect and redesign the Studio's flagship app, BSU Athletics, in preparation for the school year and getting students designing on the new product.

  • Summer/Fall 2015
  • Design & Strategy, Branding
  • Ball State Athletics
  • View on iTunes

The Challenge: Combine multiple apps; orient users

In 2015, the BSU Digital Publishing Studio switched from Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite to Adobe's Experience Manager system, prompting a redesign of its primary app, BSU Athletics. This redesign also required that we shut down several sports-related apps and add their content to BSU Athletics. To facilitate the switch, I learned the new system, taught it to the studio's student designers and redesigned and rearchitected the storefront and splash pages in the BSU Athletics app. A key problem with combining these apps is that the apps were created by and would be maintained by different students, who had been asked to develop a unique visual style for each app and for each team within the BSU Athletics app. A key concern as I approached this project was to create a visual system that would:

  • Tie disparate apps together through shared typography and visual style, while
  • Allowing the unique visual style of each team's app to be prominent, and
  • Provide clear signposting so users would know which team's app content they were looking at and how to switch between teams.

Strategy: Organize around teams, retain unique team designs

While the Adobe DPS system is meant for magazine and news publishers, we use the system somewhat differently. Our app houses interactive media guides for each BSU team. These guides are updated throughout each team's season with new rosters, game coverage, videos and more on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. To reflect an organization around teams rather than publication issues, I split the teams into Fall, Winter and Spring seasons and created an announcement on the storefront to direct users to new content. Each season, the visuals and order of seasons will change to reflect the current season and its teams and players:

Because each team's media guide is developed in its own unique style, I created team splash pages that organize guide content into sections but use a similar design style to unify the experience:

Design

While the Adobe DPS system is meant for magazine and news publishers, we use the system somewhat differently. Our app houses interactive media guides for each BSU team. These guides are updated throughout each team's season with new rosters, game coverage, videos and more on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. To reflect an organization around teams rather than publication issues, I split the teams into Fall, Winter and Spring seasons and created an announcement on the storefront to direct users to new content. Each season, the visuals and order of seasons will change to reflect the current season and its teams and players:

Because each team's media guide is developed in its own unique style, I created team splash pages that organize guide content into sections but use a similar design style to unify the experience:

Promo Video

To introduce the new app to our audience, I wrote the script for a 30-second promo video (a student created the video in After Effects). The video was shown on arena and stadium TVs before the start of every home basketball and football game.