Crikey is one of Australia’s leading independent online news publications. Originally a pioneer of online journalism, over time Crikey’s web presence became tired, hard to read and really slow. We redesigned the online experience to focus on an increasingly mobile audience, elevating their archive of award-winning journalism with clever design and technology that ensured it was super fast.
It was critical that our design paid particular attention to typography and text legibility. We created a modular design system that provided the flexibility to rearrange content based on daily editorial decisions without losing the benefits of a considered, focussed design system.
Maintaining Relevance in a Hyper-Competitive Online Landscape:
Crikey was, over time, losing relevance in a world where the very best content is only ever a click away. Customers were demanding their content in a mobile-friendly, highly legible format that did justice to the words. The existing design was clunky (at best) on mobile devices and the content was unnecessarily difficult to digest. This redesign was put in place to ensure Crikey didn’t continue to lose market share to more recent, contemporary competitors like The Conversation and The Guardian.
Mobile First and Device Aware:
People read news in different contexts on different kinds of devices, so we ensured a consistent, highly useable experience – accessible anywhere, any time, in any context. This is especially true of the mobile experience which ensures the mobile experience is equivalent to the desktop experience, without sacrificing readability or usability. Load times are heavily optimised, ensuring that all essential content is available in 4 seconds. As people read more news on their phones, a faster experience can mean more people staying on the site for longer.
Site Hierarchy – Information Architecture:
In addition to exposing the inner workings of government, Crikey’s reputation is built on providing thoughtful analysis and opinion across such diverse topics as commercial aviation, food, and contemporary Australian culture. On the old site this meant a cluttered and difficult to navigate interface. Crikey’s redesigned site hierarchy ensures that users can find the content they’re after, whether it was published today or a year ago. Topic tags and ‘read next’ suggestions mean that users can effortlessly move through the site, and are able to easily discover interesting content that is no longer ‘front page’.
As well addressing the basics for online typography with legible typefaces and clear hierarchy, we also ensured things were fast and flexible. Especially on mobile, technology matters: A considered and sophisticated font loading strategy is critical to getting readers to content as soon as possible. However, in most web font implementations, a Flash Of Invisible Text (FOIT) is common before or at the moment a custom font finishes loading. We solved this challenge with an asynchronous font loading strategy that displays a fallback system font almost immediately, and then seamlessly layers in custom fonts without any FOIT at all.
Accessibility requirements were taken very seriously during the project. We pride ourselves on giving equal thought to consistent experience for users with disability – beyond simply meeting colour contrast guidelines. All design elements of the Crikey site meet or exceed WCAG AA accessibility standards, putting Crikey ahead of many of their larger, more well-resourced peers.