AJ+ Video Style

Social Video from a UX Perspective

AJ+ produced multiple types of video. Some had very high production value, with motion graphics, presenters, and location shooting.

The videos we called Real Time were produced in the studio and published the same day, focusing on the day’s news stories. With these, we approached the video as a platform-native experience.

The Format

This is an example of the Real Time style. Videos are short – generally under three minutes, and made to be played without sound – so all text is captioned. The presentation is designed to work in a social feed, where attention spans are short.

Video as User Experience

To understand the design process, it helps to start with the concept of AJ+.

In a traditional newsroom, content is produced, then distributed on channels like TV or a websites.

AJ+ structured editorial, social engagement, and Product as three components of the interactive digital experience.

Dual User Roles

In designing the format, we approached it as a balance between two user roles;  audience and producers.

For the audience, the goal was to follow heuristic UI principles of simplicity, clarity, intuitive information hierarchy, and as seamless a presentation within the mobile environment.

For the producers, we wanted to create workflows that minimized production time and effort, without being overly templated to the point of killing creativity.

The Mobile Environment

The videos were published in our app, on Twitter and Facebook. Each presented some specific limitations of overlaying UI and user behavior that needed to be considered in the design.

We learned through research and testing early on a number of valuable insights;  80% of the audience was viewing without sound, so burning captions into the videos had a dramatic impact on retention. Videos needed to open with an arresting image, or the user quickly scrolled past.

Some Examples


AJ+ consistently ranked as one of Facebook’s top 10 content creators overall, and reached over 2 billion video views in its first two years.