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User Experience (UX) Designer – contract position

Project Brief

This project involves the complete UX/UI design of all front end components needed for a new proprietary WordPress theme for use by States Newsroom and its affiliate and partner outlets. 

Currently, States Newsroom consists of 20 state-based news websites and one site for the national organization. These sites run an out-of-the-box WordPress theme. We are looking to build a custom theme with better presentation of content and a user experience that is in line with industry standards. 

This custom theme will be used on at least 18 of the existing news outlets, and would be utilized in all future launches. See statesnewsroom.com/newsrooms for the current list of outlets.

States Newsroom will begin reviewing bids for this work until 9 a.m. EST on Thursday, January 7th, 2021 and will continue until the right candidate is found. Please send bids to [email protected] with “UX Designer contract” in the subject line.

Scope & Tasks

The scope of this work is only to produce web-ready designs, there is no development. Preference will be given to designers who indicate a willingness to work in Adobe InVision or another similar product that provides design information in the form of web ready CSS.

This project is to be completed by April 2021.


  • Visual design and UX in line with the major players of our industry
  • Changes to site flow are made when necessary to improve UX
  • Our brand and uniqueness in the news media market is highlighted
  • Our limitations in content creation are accounted for without reinforcing those limitations
  • Consistent but flexible design allows for a limited range of choices across the national network
  • Sites remain clean, easy to navigate, fast, simple


Bid Process

Please submit your flat rate project bid as a one-pager that details your experience and ability to meet the below criteria, along with links to your portfolio and/or relevant work examples.

Project bids will be judged by States Newsroom according to the following criteria:

  1. Ability to meet project scope and timeliness
  2. Alignment of designer’s portfolio with the specified goals of the project
  3. Fit within budget

States Newsroom will begin reviewing bids for this work until 9 a.m. EST on Thursday, January 7th, 2021, and will continue  until the right candidate is found. Please send bids to [email protected] with “UX Designer contract” in the subject line.

Designers selected for final consideration will be notified by close of business on Monday, January 11th, 2021; we will schedule brief interviews and the final candidate will be notified shortly thereafter. Due to volume of submissions, not all entries will be notified. 


  • All meetings will be virtual. The designer will be asked to transmit in-progress work digitally for the purposes of review and discussion ahead of the meetings.
  • All copywriting and content generation needs will be met by States Newsroom in a timely manner at designer’s request. 
  • States Newsroom will supply fonts and technical licenses relevant to the scope of this project and must approve all expenditures before the fact in writing.
  • States Newsroom will have all creative ownership over project deliverables and may modify and continue to use them for all future projects and purposes. 

Each layout needs to be delivered for four device sizes: mobile, tablet, small monitor, large monitor. Responsive design will operate on fixed grid breakpoints. Breakpoints and pixel ranges to be established at the onset of the project. 


The general timeline provided here will be finalized in collaboration with the designer. A cadence of weekly or bi-weekly meetings is preferred.

January: Welcome meeting with Digital Team – Discuss the scope and deliverables in detail. After this meeting we will ask you to generate a plan of work for initial direction. 

February: First presentation of full project draft 

February / March: Iteration on designs based on feedback from Digital and Editorial Teams

March / April: Final submission of all project deliverables


Home Page:

  • Display 15 – 25 latest stories
    • News and commentary
    • Each site publishes 2-4 featured stories and 4-6 shorter stories per day
  • Flexible option to include additional modules, such as podcast or video player

Category archive pages:

  • Fewer than five page archive templates for historical site content

About Page:

  • Information page about each news outlet; includes a mission statement, staff photos and profiles, contact information, and various links

Ethics page:

  • Ethics policy

Privacy page:

  • Privacy policy

Subscribe Page:

  • Subscribe CTA and form 

Confirmation page – subscribe:

  • Landing page after subscription

Donate Page:

  • Subscription CTA and iFrame payment gateway/process/form for donation
  • Additional information section: donation security protocols; preference for online donation / instructions to donate via check; link to funding page

Confirmation page – donation:

  • Landing page after donation

Jobs Page:

  • List of job openings with full descriptions; link to national organization jobs page

Search Results Page:

  • Native UX search results page displaying articles in either card or other search page format
  • Search filters to narrow results

News article or commentary:

  • A landing page for news articles and op-eds which includes required information and provides a native and engaging user experience
  • This includes formatting options, such as sidebars and block quotes


  • A landing page for briefs; nearly identical to the above with slight feature and branding changes


  • Site sidebar(s) with widgetized components including ways to show recent work of various types, signup widgets, calls to action, and other features.

Site Header: 

  • A site header which includes: a native UX navigation system that is somewhat flexible for different site preferences, a search utility, social icons and a prominent display of the site’s logo.

Site Footer:

  • A site footer which includes: logo, footer site navigation, site description, and other small utilities.