How do you speak to a group of extremely passionate people? What kind of design would speak to them? When Joshua Topolsky approached us about creating three different layouts in the style of three mobile UI’s we were initially torn. Something about mimicking the UI of phones didn’t feel original. But more importantly, it presented a problem of presentation. There was an inherent a UX problem to solve: do you offer presentation options or do you trick the user? We decided to troll.
One great thing about working at a company built on Lifestyle Brands With Passionate Audiences is that many of us enjoy a huge overlap between our job and our hobbies. We get our work done, but there’s a (largely unspoken) understanding that when Apple events or World Series games or E3 announcements come around, we can and should take time to enjoy them. No doubt World Cup draw coverage has been up on the projector in the DC office common area today, folks plunked down on the couch.
We love this stuff, and it’s always a great chance to see our editorial & video teams in action, and to watch closely as tools like SBN Live and Syllabus get real-world use.
The Polygon PlayStation 4 Review and Xbox One Review involved an unprecedented level of coordination between the editorial and product teams at Vox Media. The goal was to create a pair of extremely high touch features to highlight the talents of our writers and video team, while pushing the envelope on longform design.
There were a lot of lessons learned, but the final results speak for themselves.
cfbot get tableflip
We’ve been busy cranking, but wanted to share notes on the output of our Product Team hack week last month.
Vax 2.0 was a huge success. A total of 22 projects came out of the 4 days we were all in DC! On Sunday, the last day of Vax, various members from other parts of Vox Media joined the product team for a fine show and tell.
Day 3: hack hack hack! Developers, developers, developers! Scott and Brian get down to business.
Sticker time for new Polygon support manager Jon!
Friday, October 4th marked the first official hack day of Vax 2.0. Huzzah! Last month people began pitching their projects in a shared Google Doc, writing a few sentences about what they hope to accomplish and what kind of resources the project might need — designers, developers, etc. As Vax approached, we fleshed out project descriptions, and various Hired Guns joined projects they found compelling. Even once hacking began, people have hopped between groups.
NPR’s Tech Team Drops By
It has been 7 months since all members of the product team descended upon Austin, Texas for our first hackathon. We are happy to report that many of the tools that were developed during our first Vax is still in use — like Beacon, Binder and Moxie. In fact, Moxie is being developed into a tool that’s going to take Ad Products at Vox to the next level, and Beacon is a core part of Product Team planning.
Our team leaders decided to attach Vax 2.0 to our 2013 Product Team All-hands gathering at our DC office.
Our guest blogger today is Wes Chow, CTO at Chartbeat.
One of the reasons why I enjoy working at Chartbeat is that every six weeks we get to take a week to hack on anything we want, so long as the hack forces us to learn something new or partner with a teammate we don’t normally work with. It’s part of our culture of continuous improvement — we want to learn new ways of doing things and expose ourselves to outside ideas as often as possible.
Diving into Data
While Hack Weeks always tend to be fun, instructive, and impressively productive, things got really interesting last month when we were lucky enough to have a few Vox team members come and hack with us and our data for a few days.
Chartbeat recently applied our key metric, Engaged Time, to advertising , and have been tracking time ads spend in view for a few clients. The difference between Engaged Time on view and ad impressions is fundamental and significant. Viewers recall ads better when engagement is high, which more closely aligns with content quality and reading experience. As a content creator, why would you ever want to optimize for clicks?
I’m Sharon Wong, a designer at Vox Media and this is my coffee confession.
I am a coffee-addict, but only for the good, creamy, not-so-acidic liquid-gold kind. I never liked coffee until my barista friend showed me the glorious tastes of a cup of well-made coffee— and now I am ruined. I can only drink the best.
Where do you get your coffee? I rarely make coffee at home for the reason that I live and work near coffee shops that make to-die-for flat whites.