Congratulations to Aol who are the winners of Digital Design / Product Development Team of the Year 2017
Your ‘Elevator Pitch’
The platform on which HuffPost sits is incredibly powerful. Collecting stories around topics that live all in one place, and building a visual theme to enhance it, isn’t its strength however. This led to the birth of HuffPost Projects – a content curation platform providing editors with the ability to drive conversations around socially conscious issues and, for designers, the ability to create emotion. Users are treated to a more engaging experience across devices that bring words to life.
Despite being a small, local product team, a concept was delivered that would be scaled across 20-plus international & multi-lingual editions.
Set The Scene
The main challenge we faced was that we needed to rapidly create a solution for a local opportunity while working with a platform designed to support a global brand.
This required us to think innovatively and pragmatically around any potential product solution. With a core team of three, limited resources/budget and a high-profile deadline for launch, there was immense pressure to solve the problem of surfacing featured, long-form content and making it easily discoverable across HuffPost UK.
Tell Us The Story
From initial concept to delivery, the team had two weeks to create a functioning product that satisfied business requirements, delivered a truly engaging experience for readers and be robust enough to withstand a high volume of traffic from a host of sources.
Recognising the issue was something that plagued international teams globally, the core team saw an opportunity to go above and beyond. Designed with scale in mind, this foresight proved invaluable. Following the launch with ‘Buiilding Modern Men’ and subsequent ‘Young Minds Matter’, guest edited by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, the platform soon caught the eyes of HuffPost editors across the globe. Within six months the platform was rolled out across all 20 HuffPost editions and with multilingual support included.
Editors soon championed the new abilities they had in telling their stories with users echoing this through feedback of their experiences.
The HuffPost Projects platform has since been used to discuss the issues facing modern men (‘Building Modern Men’ - guest editor Andy Murray) and women (‘All Women Everywhere’ - guest editor Emilia Clarke) in Britain, the identity crisis in Greece, LGBT phobia in Brazil and even crossing brands for the launch of MAKERS UK.
“With the first Projects rollout, the team pulled together in giving us an invaluable platform to raise mental health awareness. The foresight to create a globally scalable platform, now used by 20 editions around the world, is what’s truly impressive and the icing on the cake.”
Stephen Hull – Editor in Chief
The HuffPost Projects platform in the UK alone has generated 600k UVs and 1m PVs. Various sponsorship deals, such as that with Dove for the launch of ‘All Women Everywhere’ and Paco Rabanne with the launch of MAKERS UK, have generated solid revenues for the business – leading to an impressive return on investment.
By creating an in-house solution, an additional saving was also made against using a third party platform in conjunction with added creative control in delivering engaging partner solutions.
Through this project, the UK product team also grew its status internationally and has since collaborated on further global projects across the suite of AOL brands.