James Bates
I've been a subscriber to EVO magazine for years. When the call came that we could redesign the car magazine's native app, I jumped at the chance. But then the scale of the task became clear.

The challenge for Evo Magazine

Evo's existing app was well-regarded and had a loyal fan base, but its traditional, page-turn format wasn’t allowing that fan base to grow. Our brief was to create a product that still delivered a rich editorial experience, but would widen the audience and prolong reader engagement.

We were approached by Dennis Media Factory to help them define that strategy and create a vision for the next iteration of the magazine’s native apps.

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A Ferrari driving through the mountains
Image courtesy of Evo Magazine

How do you begin making strategic changes to the way content is produced?

We began by conducting interviews with existing subscribers. It was interesting to note how many of them applied the same mental model from the print edition to the digital version. Some readers in the fan base even still felt an investment in ‘collecting the issues’ when it came to the digital manifestation of the magazine.

We then discovered an unquestionable appetite from both the editorial team and readers to publish more frequently. Other interesting opportunities quickly started to appear; they had a large audience on YouTube (~230k users), who weren’t necessarily engaging with the magazine or app, and Android users weren’t currently being served. This opened the door for us.

We knew that if we moved away from a monthly schedule to a constant stream of content, it would be challenging transition for the team to take on board. We also needed to make it clear to readers that there would be fresh content to check back for.

The editorial team would have to completely change their workflow, but from our research we had the evidence we needed to make it worth the transition.

A mobile mockup of a subscription page designed for evo magazine
Changing the subscription model for the Evo app

The risk that we took to move from a ‘digital magazine’ to what we now have is one we are comfortable with. It is important that publishers look to challenge the way they have been doing things.

Geoff Love, Publishing director at Evo
Channel 4 website screen shots

How do you give form to content that has never existed before?

To accommodate the eclectic mix of content to be produced, we created a “feed”. This took on the shape of a mosaic of content presented as a grid.

But without knowing the shape of future content, we couldn’t define a pixel-perfect grid. Instead we created a system using a series of art boards that would adapt to the ever-changing content.

We outlined a new content strategy that blended the traditional long-form, along with shorter bite-size content from their other channels. All this content aimed to address the needs of both existing fans and new users.

It was designed in HTML to work across the full range of devices that a responsive design supports, making the most of the power of the great photography and editorial design that makes EVO such a compelling magazine.

Content types Phones Evo home landscape

The Results

Increased customer base

By adjusting the team's way of creating content we increased their potential to build the brand, and also helped them thinking monthly or weekly timescales, offering customers fresh and exciting content daily.

Rewards and accolades

Soon after launch the App became Apple's "Best Newsstand App" the result of which was a dramatic increase in downloads with 97,000 downloads in 4 months from launch.

A motivated team

The internal effect of the shift in content production meant that the team had a greater investment in creating up-to-the-minute content that appealed to their ever-increasing customer base.

​Channel 4 News Channel 4