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Screens of an app for Insider

Insider information

How we helped Insider 4x member engagement

Research, Design, Product Strategy

iOS, Android, Web

About the client

It’s not all business at Insider

It feels like Business Insider has been around forever. But a lot’s changed since the early Silicon Alley days when they just covered business. Today, they report on a wide range of topics from business to life to news.

In an effort to keep up with the times—and better reflect their offering—they rebranded to Insider. Next on deck was their mobile app.

the challenge

Elevate the member experience

While millions of people visit Insider each month for free, their most loyal readers pay for premium features that include investigative new stories and exclusive resources. Subscribers also get access to a mobile app, the problem was, nobody was using it.

The app was a white-labeled product, designed ages ago. When Dan Hockley joined Insider as their new Product Director, he decided to give us a call. A former MetaLab client alum, he asked if we could work our magic together one more time.
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I knew MetaLab would bring their dual expertise in user experience and production value to help us create something remarkable for our users and the best reflection of the Insider brand.
Dan Hockley
- VP of Product, Membership (Insider)
Mockup of an app on a mobile device
Mockup of an app on a mobile device
Mockup of an app on a mobile device


Mockup of an app on a mobile device



Value at every turn

The updated app is part of Insider’s long-term strategy to keep a loyal and engaged subscriber base.

We leaned on Nir Eyal's Hook Model while designing our prototypes to ensure the product would be sticky and provide more value to readers each time they used it. Then, we recruited a few die-hard subscribers to test our prototypes in real-time.
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In testing, we noticed over and over and over again that people relied heavily on the bullet point summaries of articles. They loved it because they wanted content fast. So, we had the bright idea to turn that into a feature.
Nyle Feist
- Principal UX Researcher (MetaLab)

the solution

The silver bullet

A pattern we found in research is that readers would click into articles, only to read the bulleted summaries. Some would bookmark articles they were interested in to read later, while others only wanted the cliffnotes of the day’s top stories.

So, we created a first-of-its-kind browsing experience. Summary Mode puts these bullets right into the main feed.  But we didn’t stop there.
Scattered UI elements


Feed of dreams

Variety is the spice of life. It’s also what keeps people scrolling.

Where best practices would tell you that personalization wins every time, we found that Insider subscribers preferred a single random feed that allowed them to discover interesting articles outside their “preferences.”


Less is more

Once a reader clicks on a headline they like, the article expands into view over top of the feed. With only a couple of important exceptions—like bookmarking and sharing—the UI is reduced to keep the attention on the content.


Elevated basics

For the rest of the app, it was all about nailing the basics. From newsletter subscriptions to bookmarked content, we used subtle animations and smooth transitions to polish the whole experience.

the results

A fast and fun way to read news on the go

Subscribers are using the app more than ever before. After just three months, Insider has seen a 4x increase in engagement.
Awesome intuitive new app!
5 star app store reviewer
Super user friendly app to get all your news exactly how you want it! Love the summary view, and customizability of article categories! This is my new “go-to” app for news!
Beautiful new app!
5 star app store reviewer
The new Insider app is super easy to use and has cool new features like the summary mode and the ability to follow different verticals. Download this!
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It was a pleasure to work with MetaLab. They are genuinely passionate about what they do, and they bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. The new Insider app reflects that.
Selma Stern
- Chief Membership Officer (Insider)
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XXX,XXX app downloads