When the iPad was released on April 3, 2010, it promised to revolutionize the way we consume media. Six months later, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Gannett Co. announced a $12MM investment in the social news site Ongo. Founded by former eBay SVP Alex Kazim, Ongo had a simple mandate: create an ad-free news distribution platform that people would pay for.
The service ingested news and other content from hundreds of sources presented in a clean interface void of advertising and built with modern touch gestures in mind. A team of editors combed through the day’s news and curated the homepage, putting preference on original sources. Users could select their favourite topics and publications and have hand-picked stories delivered to them every morning.
During an extended contract with Ongo, I was able to help the team solve a number of design problems they were facing with their website and nascent iPad app. I worked with an amazing team of designers and developers to help bring top-quality news reporting to the masses.
Working closely with the product manager, UX designer, and developers working across multiple platforms, I designed user interfaces for multiple areas of the product, not limited to but including the main navigation of the desktop and mobile web apps, table of contents views for magazines in the iPad app, as well as various marketing pages and other assets.
While the work we did to improve both the product and marketing was able to drive growth to the service, mitigating circumstances prevented the company from securing a second round of funding.
Sadly, Ongo closed its doors in May of 2012.