The Sun & Sun+Goals

News UK

Working with The App Business as a lead designer on NewsUK working on The Sun iOS app – creating scalable dynamic content blocks for the news feed and wider improvements to the experience; Sun+ Goals World Cup iOS app – continuous design improvementsSun+ Goals iOS app Season 2 – reimagine the experience, a vision of being at the game – continuous play.

Sun Mobile brings you breaking news, greatest videos to watch, latest sports action, showbiz and celeb gossip from around the world.

Sun News app approach

  1. Iterate and improve the Sun News app experience.
  2. Design a system that automatically selects how to present content so editors can focus on delivering the best content.
  3. Surface and deliver more content to users.

Creating UX and presenting concepts to NewsUK to improve the experience. Work closely with developers to understand technical problems we could face with some concepts. Run a series of design / development sprints to put the app into production

Improved experience

A selection of different enhancements that were made to help the app feel more delightful to use and personality to the app.

Limited content areas
The current version of the app only had 4 different widgets to present content. The challenge was to design a scalable system that allowed more content to be displayed in view.

Dynamic content blocks
Introduce a number of flexible cards to handle more content and be dynamic for editors to concentrate on the content.

Sun Goals gives you up to the minute football action, video clips and stories so you don’t miss a thing. Let the action come to you.

NewsUK at the time had bought exclusive rights from Sky for video highlights and goals. The App Business created a v1 of the product collaborating with NewsUK’s creative director.

Brief and process

Take the lessons from ‘Season 1’ that was structured to focus on leagues. Create a new approach for Sun Goals for ‘Season 2’.

Some questions I asked myself:

        1. Is there a better approach?
        2. What’s behaviour of ‘supporters’ in football?
        3. Are there opportunities for personalisation and video?


I performed a number of UX activities and presented design thinking and concepts to NewsUK to improve the overall experience for the end user. Worked closely with developers to understand technical problems we could face with some concepts and ran a series of design / development sprints to put the app into production.

“I support Everton but I can only see content from the top teams in the League.”

Users find it difficult to find news for their team because all of the top performing teams were appearing top.

Personalised onboarding and newsfeed
After some informal supporter interviews, I used the feedback to form my assumption that ‘people follow teams first and leagues second’. This assumption was developed into a better onboarding flow to create a personalised newsfeed for people to follow their teams and used to help consider a personalised sorting algorithm of related content. 

Pick the league

Select the teams
to follow

Newsfeed with prioritise
relevant content

Focus on Video
Create video playlists to allow people to catch up on all the action from the latest matches and the action across the leagues.

Video playlist

Continous fullscreen video playback

3 day trial up sell to Sun+Goals 
We explored concepts to monetise content and apps and the 3 day trial was an experiment we launched in Ireland. The results showed an uplift in Sun+ subscriptions, however the impact was it reduced engagement and these lessons were taken forward to the business to form part of a business case to remove the The Sun paywall.

Force people into the free trial

Option to Try or login for people with subscriptions

Launches the 3 day countdown

0 days count down

Users have the option to buy the app


The concepts that were created for this inception phase were developed and included in the latest version of the app and released on the AppStore.

The refocus helped to increase user retention and engagement across the app.

Sun news UK decided to finally remove the barrier for paid content completely and decided to make all content available for free.

© 2020 David Standen