AJ+ Mobile App

iOS+Android – The Center of the AJ+ Universe

The AJ+ mobile app was the centerpiece of the concept of Al Jazeera’s venture into a digital-native news network, initially targeted to an English-speaking youth audience, and based in San Francisco.

I joined AJ+ when the project was in the development stage, to lead the design of the mobile app, and help develop the overall visual style.

My Role
Lead Designer

The Concept for AJ+

AJ+ was conceived as an all-digital, mobile-first news network. Based in San Francisco, but with global bureaus producing coverage 24/7.

The primary channel was a native mobile app, with social platforms as secondary channels for sharing content.

A Digital-First News Organization

As an organization, AJ+ was designed to be digital-native and allow for maximum audience engagement. Editorial, social engagement, and product were three equal and overlapping parts.

Research + Audience/User Personas

The research phase combined the overall product strategy for AJ+ as a digital network, and primarily focused on audience.

We were able to study existing digital channels in the Al Jazeera network, overall market trends for digital consumption, and the online behavior and attitudes of Millennials – our target user/audience.

From here, we developed personas and content strategy.


Going in to the project, the bigest constraint was time.

We had four months to design and develop mobile apps for iOS and Android, as well as a content management system to power them. This condensed the design phase to six weeks.

The goal was to create a fully-realized a product for launch, and prioritize features to be added in regular subsequent releases.

Workshopping the Experience

We worked closely with the newly-formed editorial and social engagement teams to come up with a content and engagement strategy for the app.

The app had a full-time dedicated production staff, so it was essential to create features that enabled a storytelling and engagement experience that would work for them.

The Product Concept

This short video goes through the product concept prior to the discrete UX design phase, but is very close to the finished product.

Wireframes and Interactions

From here, we mapped out all the UX.

For the first release, we did a unified design for iOS and Android, and differentiated the design to use the native design language for each in subsequent releases.

Visual Design

Some shots from the iOS and Android style guides.

Content Management System

For the app, we designed and built our own CMS, and collaborated with the editorial teams to design a workflow for publishing and approvals.

This ended up being a more complicated task than the app itself, and a whole parallel design/development track.