Reuters is the world’s largest multimedia news provider. Its photographers have captured some of the most iconic news images of our time. In the rapidly evolving media and technology landscape, Reuters wanted to establish a new approach to visual storytelling, combining the power of photography with deeper context to give greater impact, depth and engagement. The Wider Image, created exclusively for the iPad, brings images and information to life through a unique contextual storytelling experience.
Since launching in 2012, Reuters The Wider Image has won a range of awards for best app of the year and has been heralded by the media as an “unprecedented news photography experience” and “one of the most interesting iPad apps to come from the news category.”
These days, news channels are all competing to be the most up-to-the-minute source. Thomson Reuters Pictures owns an extensive volume of beautiful, powerful images that may never get seen or are only used for current news. Reuters wanted to find a way to utilize these powerful assets and to engage users to slow down and to look at the wider context in such a fast-paced news environment.
Reuters The Wider Image is a new photojournalism iPad app which is a departure from their traditional media offering and also brings the Reuters experience direct to consumers. The Wider Image app is a resource for a highly curated photography experience that focused on quality rather than quantity and recency.
Reuters approached Method with the concept for The Wider Image app including a content vision and a new visual vocabulary of story formats, ranging from interactive images to data visualizations. Method collaborated with Reuters to extend this vision through design, creating the user experience and visual framework for the application.
With the focus of the app on photography, there were various challenges and questions that arose in layout and design.
The app takes a more experimental approach with the way users can browse and digest. Whereas most news experiences begin with a story headline, this app leads with imagery.
It also needed to balance a growing archive of material with fresh incoming content, whilst offering a space for users to customize the experience. Method explored various ways to combine photography and information. A major design challenge was to establish a layout, navigation and functional speciﬁcation which worked consistently across multiple story formats.
In order to design the app, Method worked closely with the Reuters team to obtain a full understanding of its vision for content and interactivity. Using various digital tools for concept and prototyping, Method went through various iterations to ensure that the app positioned quality photojournalism ﬁrst. Being highly visual, the design itself retains qualities of minimalism to give primary attention to the content. In an effort to maintain brand consistency for which Reuters is known, the Method design team worked within the Reuters brand guidelines to create a design and interface which utilize neutral colours and an organic feel for the most effective lean-forward user experience. Simplicity and intuition were carefully balanced. The design leverages the unique characteristics of the device and operating system.
Subtle animations were used to create a more cinematic experience in a way which can only be achieved in a native application. Design solutions were used to hint at behaviors and to optimize user perceptions of responsiveness.
Ultimately, the ﬁnal solution facilitates serendipitous discovery of content, allowing users to share and comment on photos as well as favoriting and saving content for later viewings. The team developed unique methods for browsing—by implementing an “Explorer” function that gives viewers the capability to browse photos by location, photographer, and themes.
Reuters The Wider Image reimagines news photography to bring viewers closer to the story. It gives the opportunity to explore the world in different ways, to discover the very best Reuters photojournalism, to access the story behind the photos, to meet the photographers behind the lens, and to get the wider story.
Each story expands from a single high-impact image—giving more context through a variety of formats including panoramas, sequences and sounds—to transform the way people see. Country proﬁles visually compare social, demographic and economic differences between the story’s location and your own. Photographer proﬁles introduce the people behind the lens and their stories.
The app is is also intended to inspire photographers and to act as a catalyst to developing the next generation of visual storytellers. The Wider Image puts photography at the heart of the story and expands through a variety of interactive formats. It differs from common news photography experiences by focusing on quality, interactivity, and narrative context. This application is the first of its kind to deliver a superior storytelling experience, in contrast with existing news publishing models.