When print and digital versions of the same publication coexist, they need to work smartly in tandem — and provide clear value for users who gravitate toward one format over the other.
That was certainly the case for Wharton Magazine, the publication of the distinguished Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania that is geared towards alumni but is truly a powerhouse editorial platform reaching a global audience. Tackling topics like honing survival skills in an uncertain global economy, addressing the future of agricultural sustainability, and examining the business forces driving the cannabis boom — as well as personal insights from high-profile Wharton alumni like Tesla founder Elon Musk and surgeon-turned-TV-personality Dr. Mehmet Oz — the publication’s content is on par with the top media producers in the business and entrepreneurship category.
Our clients at Wharton Magazine wanted to adopt a refreshed modern design that better translated the look and feel of their newly rebranded print publication into an elegant and compelling digital format. The solution we proposed not only met that need, but also improved the overall user experience and created a hub for community engagement — all while reflecting Wharton’s established branding and prestigious reputation. This new digital experience would go on to win a coveted W3 2020 Silver Award for General Websites - Magazine.
Our discovery involved user surveys sent to the magazine’s web visitors, one-on-one stakeholder interviews, and a deep analysis of user behavior analytics on the site and a comparison to top competitors. We found that most readers want to stay updated and connected, but they were often using just the print version to do so, either out of habit or lack of familiarity with the online version. We also found that new users were far outnumbering returning visitors, so we proposed specific solutions for better engaging alumni and encouraging their return visits — and for promoting content effectively to all audiences through social media and email channels.
The new online experience we created is informative and engaging with bolder and more compelling visuals. Keeping a strong emphasis on the mobile experience, we efficiently organized, tagged, and categorized content by topic; established clean navigation throughout the site; and approached every component with intention in terms of visual design and UX. Visitors can now easily browse the extensive collection of publication archives, link through to related stories, download a pdf of the current issue, and enjoy several “Digital Exclusives” of fresh content that are not available in the print version — including a hugely popular Blog Network, School News, and Alumni Spotlight — all of which keep them engaged in accomplishments and updates from their peers.
Other noteworthy features include Watchlist, which highlights recent innovative entrepreneurial ventures from alumni, and a newly refined treatment for their existing Whiteboard feature, which now seamlessly embeds captions within digital images.
Finally, we provided consultation on editorial strategy and user flow, ensuring that their digital editorial team could efficiently send copy through their chain of command — from initial draft through review stages and on to production.
The new site now feels more like a destination where Wharton alumni, global business leaders, and entrepreneurial enthusiasts alike will want to return not only for valuable content, but also to celebrate the successes of their peers and enjoy the sense of camaraderie within this dynamic digital community.