Rethinking Storytelling and Usability: FvF's Approach to Digital Publishing - Friends of Friends / Freunde von Freunden (FvF)

Rethinking Storytelling and Usability: FvF’s Approach to Digital Publishing


Freunde von Freunden’s website is getting a makeover as a matter of usability in synergy with content and aesthetics.

Since we’ve been spending a lot of time with our FvF guests by exploring their houses, studios, neighborhoods and favorite locations we wanted to convey the intimacy that we build to our readers by evolving the way we narrate these stories and showcase all the inspirational settings. As you’ve probably already noticed, more and more features we publish come with a new look that interweaves visuals with writing. The redesign of our individual story pages was a venture that required fair amounts of experimentation and hard work – an essential move since a growing number of stories begged for a different layout and additional chapters.

Unlike our previous article design, our new interactive approach combines image, video and text into seamless stories that alter the way users experience the FvF content. Each feature’s layout is tailor-made to suit interviews individually as we define the storytelling from top to bottom. For this purpose, we’ve formed a variety of elements and modules that can be employed in different contexts for each piece without exhausting an identical template over and over again. By rearranging the modules’ role and place, the design remains unique. The visual elements found in-between areas of text contribute to the core of the story and enhance its structure without disturbing the overall flow. Thus, following a storyline becomes more organic as it unscrolls before the readers’ eyes.


Our first steps into the interactive storytelling world begun with Richard Phillips in a special FvF feature which MoreSleep, our mother agency and creative team, had to develop from scratch.

Pleased with the result of the new design, we took it a step further to accommodate our needs by altering our backend – the admin area and database – and adding a wider range of capabilities. We decided to construct a fully functioning “story builder” on top of our existing content management system that saves us invaluable time and is easy to use. That way, we facilitated the editorial team’s handling and maintaining of the website. Our editors can now concentrate on the content and quality of the stories without being preoccupied with technical demands. Since we’re looking to make the most out of our newly devized modules, we’re also incorporating them in more of the website’s pages such as the FvF Apartment and our two published books’ individual page.

What we’ve developed is an essential toolbox that will help us evolve and adapt to technological changes. Of course, our website’s makeover is an ongoing process towards our goal of complete redesign and we plan to tweak things here and there as we go along depending on our readers’ needs. What’s more, we’ve recently launched a soft version of our webshop which will include bespoke high-end products made in collaboration with past FvF guests. Overall, we plan to add more features as well as refine existing ones and constantly research new advancements to push our capabilities. In any case we always prefer putting our ideas out there for our audience to see than letting them go stale in a digital back room.

Our Favorite Internal Use Cases

A Revolution Across the Web

We are not the only ones thinking about the new era of digital publishing as we’ve been following numerous discussions and examples online to stay up to date with the changes happening internationally and push the limits of storytelling through design. Some of our favorite use cases that inspired our redesign are Rick Rubin‘s profile on Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine’s ‘A Game of Shark and Minnow‘ as well as National Geographic’s ‘Killing Kennedy‘.

We’re actively taking part in an expansive conversation about the evolution of online journalism, new generation of responsive stories and next level of digital curation.

We’re Just Getting Started

All of our future features are heading in the same direction as we aspire to only publish interactive stories from now on. Needless to say, the new stories and articles’ design is also responsive and available across platforms. The FvF vision of quality remains the same as we continue to produce inspiring stories and interviews with intriguing creatives from around the globe by delving deeper into our storytelling voice.

Follow us as we explore the possibilities of visual and textual compositions through engaging stories on Freunde von Freunden.