You know those projects you dream about? Those clients everyone wants to work with? That's what Pride.com was for us. From the discovery call, our team was introduced to a passionate, aspirational and collaborative team, eager to push the boundaries of innovation in the publishing industry and redefine the news experience for LGBT millennials. Who better to do this than Here Media, a company with numerous highly reputable publications and more than 40 years serving as the world’s leading LGBT news source?
The vision was to design and develop a high quality editorial experience fueled by the voices of its readers and that reacts to the community as quickly as it reacts to news world. This shared vision would become Pride.com – the first ever experience where news and community come woven together in a single integrated digital experience
With the expectation set, design and strategy joined forces to get smart about LGBT millennials and the digital publishing industry. A few things stood out:
1. Content should be trustworthy and memorable.
Peer-recommended and user-generated content trumps all traditional forms of media with regards to being trustworthy and memorable to Millennials. This was critical to how we would approach the user experience of the site. (New Study on Millennials and UGC, Business Wire, 2014)
2. Sharing is everything.
We’d build our content strategy around this community’s craving for bite-size content that’s immediately shareable and directly relevant.
3. Navigation should be a breeze.
Navigation and exploration of content had to be simple and fun. The foundation for this was defined in our content strategy phases but came to life with the bold typography and defined color palette in the design phase.
After learning everything we could about LGBT millennials, we began the design phase
By understanding that different audiences want to engage at different depths, we focused on simplicity of engagement on every level of the site. Using an array of Livefyre functionality, a viewer can immediately read a featured comment, add his or her voice to the conversation, and share the article with his or her social networks directly from the home page
For Your Right Brain
Visuals matter and that’s immediately obvious on Pride.com. From the original video, the full bleed photography, and the visually rich sponsorship spaces, the entire experience appeals to the creative side of each viewer. The large imagery and bold typography encourages deeper exploration of content and ease of navigation.
What’s Trending is What Matters
Our default is what’s trending. Unlike most news sites, Pride.com surfaces content the community cares most about on every page and in the global navigation. This dynamic navigation reacts to community engagement in near to real-time so you never have to search far for the most popular content. The trending tags menu highlights topics in order of popularity and by heat (color) to give the rainbow new meaning and to reinforce our focus on trending topics
Pride.com fully integrates social engagement throughout the experience, elevating the voices of the community to the same level as editorial content. By leveraging Sidenotes, the community can engage with content and each other throughout each article, as well as share favorite quotes to Facebook and Twitter, increasing virality. The use of Featured Comments rewards meaningful conversation, and encourages contemplative discussion around LGBT topics. The combined result of these social engagements significantly boosts the scale in which content can be created and deployed.
Sponsorship Space That Doesn’t Suck
A unique experience can be found where historically, critical yet distracting sponsorship opportunities once lived. We rethought sponsorships with the same attention to detail and quality of design that we leveraged for the rest of the site by thinking a little outside that banner-ad sized box. These sponsorship opportunities are more important than ever considering 45% of consumers under the age of 34 say they’re more likely to do repeat business with LGBT-friendly companies (Google Consumer Survey, 2014). This becomes a powerful advertising space for companies interested in spreading awareness of their values and addressing a very specific audience.
Prioritizing Responsive Design
A major priority from the beginning was device agnostic user experience and design. We took great care in crafting an experience that’s awesome and easy to use on every device because that’s where our readers and contributors engage.
The launch of Pride.com introduces to the world, a space for LGBT millennials to engage with compelling, high quality content that honors and reflects the unique lives these individuals live. It’s a fun and active community that infuses the social lives and the individual voices of this community into the news it reads and cares about. Pride.com is yet another example of bold and boundary-pushing work coming from Here Media and it sets a new standard for what a publisher destination can be. The experience leverages Livefyre technology to the fullest and developed a strategic partnership from the beginning in order to deliver on the vision
Strategy: Alyssa Ackerman
Design: Johathan Haggard and Michelle Haft.
Livefyre & Here Media