Digital news design gets interesting again

Modern digital design has drained all sentiment and inventiveness from products we use on a daily basis. From streaming platforms and shopping apps to, of course, news websites, everything looks the same.

UX standardization is a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s great to present something in a way people are familiar with, but how do we do that without falling into the performance bubble, rinsing and repeating what everyone else is doing? We designers can facilitate the process and visualize and understand possible paths. Working together with engineering, product, growth, audience, and the newsroom, we can aim for bold new bold ideas and experiences — but are we ready for that?

As a designer, I’d be excited to see the news industry bring back the uniqueness we used to see in printed newspapers — the content density, the grid (and how to break it in clever ways), the personality, the focus — without washing away the brand’s identity and how readers perceive it. In short, how can digital pay respect to a centuries-old industry that shapes culture, influences governments, and documents history?

I’d like to think 2023 is the year we can go back to when everything was new and unexplored, where we take risks and make choices that could reshape the way we experience news online.

Al Lucca is head of design and creative at Semafor.

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