Nearly ten years ago, President Obama’s re-election team approached thirteen23 for a mobile app to engage core supporters in grassroots-style campaigning. As lead designer on the app, I translated the existing campaign style into a design for iOS 6.
Understanding and UX
This was a severely time-constrained project — 12 weeks from start to finish, including development — with a large number of features. Our key insight from conversations with campaign officials was that communication was more powerful coming from friends than from campaigns, so we structured the app around a "Featured" section which contained bite-sized, shareable news and talking points.
I then created a robust UX plan for all six sections (the Events section is shown below). The small scale of the team was advantageous in this case, as I was able to work closely with our iOS developer and enable him to begin development as soon as pieces of the app’s basic structure came into focus.
Press and awards
Released only a few months before Election Day (and, incredibly, on the same day as Mitt Romney’s team released their app), the app garnered much attention from the press. It also won Best in Category “Connecting” at the 2013 IxDA Interaction Awards, a Gold International Design Excellence Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America, and a “Social Impact Notable” distinction at the Core77 Design Awards.
“[The app] shows a deep understanding of the potential of the technology and is directly tied to the ultimate goal — winning the election.”
“I found ‘Obama for America’ genuinely useful… It’s so simple that it seemed like something designed for the National Gallery in Washington — like an immaculate, government-stamped design.”