Sky News Arabia

A complete Overhaul of Region's Premium News Portal

SkyNews Arabia is one of region’s the most popular Arabic News Channel and portal. After RBBi’s initial engagement where the portal was put through the usability testing in 2012, SkyNews Arabia team again invited RBBi in early 2015 to work on the complete re-design of the portal. The focus was simply to overhaul the way portal was structured, news was consumed by redefining the user experience.

Understanding & Analysing

As our first step, we conducted a series of workshops with all internal stakeholders to understand the insights from the business, data/analytics, current workflow, technology stack and most importantly the pain points identified by the team at SNA.

These workshops also involved brainstorming sessions to discuss ideas and possible impact on the workflow.

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Sky News Arabia UX Strategy

We started with a mission to change the way region looks at news specially the Arabic readers. The average user experience standards for news browsing for Arabic portals needed to be challenged. However, it wasn’t all chaos. No feature was added for the sake of it. The whole experience was built on a strong foundation of the overall UX strategy.

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From Scribbles to Annotated Wireframes

Our scope covered final annotated wireframes for the responsive framework of the portal. These started with simple scribbles on paper and evolved in to final pixel perfect wireframes to be delivered to the SkyNew Arabia’s internal design team for implementation. The whole approach was ‘Mobile First’ as the discovery phase showed the need for it.

wireframes sky news arabia
wireframes sky news arabia
wireframes sky news arabia
wireframes sky news arabia
wireframes sky news arabia
wireframes sky news arabia

Prototype Testing with Users

Preparing wireframes and navigation strategy is just one side of the coin. At RBBi, the project is never complete till we involve the users to co-create.

We tested a wireframe prototype with our real users to understand if we have understood their behaviour and if we have translated it in to a seamless user experience.

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prototype participants sky news arabia
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The ‘Mobile First’ Approach

The biggest misconception about this approach is – You need to start designing the mobile version first. Yes and No. Mobile First approach requires you to think mobile and not just start designing from it. Every aspect of the SNA portal was thought through with this approach. Decisions were made, elements were rejected and worked upon again and again with this approach.

Few Highlights

Freedom to Users

Ability to view news by Time, Category and Editor’s Choice gives users freedom to customize the feed as per their taste.

freedom to users sky news arabia

Discovery of Articles

The article page has various paths for users to guide them to discover relevant content and thus increasing the engagement.

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Engaging Sports Page

One of the most visited area for any news portal is sports. We treated it care keeping in mind Sport Fan’s point view and things that they love to see.

engaging sports page sky news arabia

Fixed Main Navigation

Looking at the Mobile-First approach and current trends we opted for a fixed side navigation with mega-dropdowns to avoid multiple clicks.

fixed main navigation sky news arabia

Topic Pages

We introduced Topic Pages to help specific users find all relevant content across various content types in one place.

topic pages sky news arabia

The Business

Similarly the business section was structured looking at the primary objectives and visual hierarchy for user relevance.

the business sky news arabia

Final UI designs and technology integration was handled and managed by
SkyNews Arabia’s internal team.

thair soukar sky news arabia
Thair Soukar

Head of Digital Strategy, SkyNews Arabia

This key project was preceded by a couple of minor ones we had done with RBBI. Our relationship with them is a true form of business partnership at its best. They wholeheartedly love what they do; and it does show. The sheer passion that drives them, along with their diligence, veracity & attention to details have earned them our lasting trust. The company enjoys such an entrepreneurial spirit, and every time I step into their “white office”, I leave loaded with lots of positive energy!