World’s Best-Designed Digital Finalists

The Society for News Design has just announced 10 finalists for World’s Best-Designed™ websites and apps. Final winners will be named at this gala on April 11 in Washington, D.C. [Register here.]

The State of Digital News

Publishers and news sites find themselves at a crossroads. While the atomic units of content they produce are getting better all the time, the mechanisms to reach their audience have changed, and the expectations of the audience have changed as well.

What are these changes? News is now more personal than ever. Our time is more precious than ever. The experience people want and expect is one that provides news at a personal level and feels like time well spent. It must be available and enjoyable across all devices. It should work wherever you are and cultivate community.

Platforms are redefining what news is and how it is consumed. Their curated experiences have become the entry points for publishers’ content. Publishers know the news: Platforms know people and connect them to the news they want.

Are platforms the future of news sites, or can publishers learn to create experiences that both inform and engage their audience in ways they are unable to today? Platforms are of the web, are you?

— The SND Digital Judging Team

Criteria

  • Audience — Scope of organization: To be World’s Best, recirculation strategy has to be excellent as well
  • Mobile web / responsive vs. app —  t has to work well across devices and breakpoints, unless strategy is to treat devices separately. Apps are strictly judged on the app experience
  • Performance — Speed, easy to use / intuitive
  • The content — Relevant to you, easy-to-find presentation. Elegant, clean, intuitive
  • Community — A safe place that fosters conversations
  • Portability —  Of content, or elements of the site or experience. Atomic

The Finalists

[In no particular order]

Medium

medium
Possibly the next generation platform and publisher. It is a joy to use and looks stunning.

Quartz

Quartz1
One of the best user experiences for a news site today. The homepage is a useful resource rather than only a collection of what they produced today. Articles seamlessly flow into one another, making it easy to read more than one thing.

NPR One

NPRONE
Excellence through simplicity. A hyper-focused experience that delivers on its promise of personalized audio.

Harvard Law Review

HARVARDlaw1
One of the most stunningly designed sites we have seen. It does not try to be something it is not, it simply embraces the content it has and creates a wonderful experience.

AJ+

AJcards
A bold experiment in contextual news. Clever use of audience engagement for people who want to dig below the surface on topics. News orgs will be ‘sampling’ elements of this app.

Facebook

FB_Timeline_iPad_RGB
News is personal. In a world where time is precious, Facebook is one of the main ways people discover — and share — news that matters to them.

NPR

NPR
This site bridges the gap between web and audio.

Twitter

SND_Twitter
The place where you curate your own community. It gives you the ability to broadcast and be broadcast to. Twitter has the unique ability to break news fast.

The New Yorker

NEWYorker
A thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.

YouTube

youtube
It is still the place for video on the web. It creates the ability for publishers to place their video where the audience is. It allows people, if the demand is there, to become ‘stars’ without publishers.