ProPublica Publishes Guides for Optimal App Design


ProPublica announced last week it is publishing a series of guides on how to design optimal news apps, available on GitHub. The guides were written by Scott Klein, the publication’s news apps editor, and two of his colleagues, Jeff Larson, news apps developer at ProPublica, and Jennifer LaFleur, director of computer-assisted reporting.

ProPublica published five guides:

  • A news app style guide, comprising the typographic and technical best practices directing the team's work (also applicable to ProPublica’s online graphics);
  • An advanced design overview, in effect an introduction to the design and structure of a news application, including some guidelines for the design of an optimal news application;
  • A coding manifesto, for a healthy coding in a journalist, deadline-driven environment;
  • Their standard social tags, such as meta tags for Twitter and Facebook;
  • And a data bulletproofing guide, including integrity checks, methodology advice, and other tips.

All five guides and a readme file (or ProPublica's Nerd Guides) are also available here.

ProPublica’s news applications team invites other newsrooms to fork their guides and bring their own suggestions and improvements, using the GitHub repository not only as an information source, but also as an open board to promote exchange of best practices. Klein, Larson and LaFleur will also use the platform to update the guides, tweaking and improving them as they go along.

For more information about news apps at ProPublica, you can read Klein's chapter dedicated to this subject in The Data Journalism Handbook.