Warwick Kay UX / UI Designer

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I worked with the team @ Shorthand.com as the UX designer to design & build Immersive, a product for journalists to write & publish long-form media rich stories. My duties included:

The challenge

News is (and has been for some time) in a state of flux. You have the traditional news outlets, the plethora of blogging platforms and of course social media, spreading news to every corner of the globe instantly.

The team at Shorthand has been producing digital products for the news & media industry for years now. They saw a gap between the blogger / social news outlet and the large news corporations.

My Role

I was brought on in May 2014 to lead the design and experience of what would become Immersive, a new application to fill the gap for journalists and small news outlets.

Discover Phase

The team came together in late May 2014 with a week kickoff to discover and brainstorm possible approaches.

We talked about the tech stack, what was possible, how quickly we could launch, but most importantly we talked about journalists and the problems they face.

We looked at how journalists (freelance, contract and full-time) worked within their industry and how they grew professionally.

We came to find that journalists also have "side-projects" or "passion-projects" that they are working on in their own time. This looked like a great place to start. Journalists had nowhere to publish this work outside of blogs and we realised we could produce a product that could cater to this market, in a short space of time.


From there we quickly wanted to validate our assumptions. I got on my bike (metaphorically) and headed out to talk to both experienced and up and coming journalists in Australia.

We spoke about their day jobs and what they do in their pastime. I was surprised at the range of work they were doing outside of their regular jobs. As well as the 'investigative journalism' pieces we already knew about, they were also writing plays, books and TV scripts, amongst other things.

This really motivated us to push ahead and get something into the hands of journalists as soon as possible.


The product has 2 sides which will appeal to journalists as well as providing a great reading experience for consumers. I broke this down to 3 user stories:

*As a journalist I want to be proud of my work, this includes how it looks, feels and reads.*

*As a user I want to quickly and easily publish my stories*

*As a consumer I want an enjoyable reading experience no matter where I consume the article.*

The first and third story revolve around the published article. Does it look professional, does it 'not' feel like a blog, will it promote their personal brand, does it have a good reading experience?

The second story is the editing experience. While initially being light on features this needs to be usable, enjoyable, safe and reliable.

Being a team of 4, I kicked off designing the final published article templates while the developers work on the infrastructure. Using a range of demonstration articles we had sourced, I designed the article layout using a mix of Photoshop, wireframes and prototyping in HTML.

This gave me the ability to test quickly with real content and iterate the designs through feedback from the team and journalists.

From there we worked backwards. Since we had a range of sample published stories, we took each part of the article and worked on how these would be created & edited.

Testing as we go, I'd design on paper (creating rough prototypes) then the team would integrate directly into the app. From there I'd create the design style in the live pattern library and we'd polish once we were happy with the solution.

Overall we went with an inline editing experience. This gave us an advantage from a development point of view but also gave the journalist the ability to preview the article as they added content.

Using an iterative development process we continually enhanced the editing and publishing experience one element at a time. During this development we kept the published article intact and continually tested to ensure the journalist and consumer experience was not compromised.

Here's a little video of the editing experience after we launched:

With the first pass editing experience completed we were able to produce articles to validate that we had met story 1 & 3.

From there I worked with journalists to test the editing capabilities while development shifted their focus to the user management & story management functions.

The final product

Immersive shot to over 500 users within the first 3 months (before our deadline) and 1500+ prior to moving over to become Shorthand Social.

A few example stories








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