In the spring of 2012, President Obama’s re-election team approached thirteen23 for a cross-platform 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 the iPhone which was later adapted for Android.
Our small team had only three months to plan, design, and execute an app with a tremendous number of features. As a team, we sorted the large quantity of information and requirements into six discrete sections. Beginning with wireframes and interaction models, 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.
The Obama campaign had already established a firm visual brand, which I analyzed in detail and compared to the 2008 brand guidelines. My challenge was to take this style and spin it in such a way that it would appear at home on the iPhone.
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.
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.” –Virginia Heffernan, Yahoo! News
[The app] shows a deep understanding of the potential of the technology and is directly tied to the ultimate goal — winning the election.” –Richard Robbins, Huffington Post Blog