“This is a transformational time for the role of product in digital news as we think about how to continue to grow our audience and increase engagement, how we best serve our readers’ needs, and, ultimately, how we deliver a news experience worth paying for,” said Kat Downs Mulder, Vice President of Product and Design at The Washington Post. “We’ve spent the last year listening to what our readers want and this research has informed the changes we are testing over the next several months. We want to ensure we are consistently delivering a superior experience that keeps readers coming back. At the end of the day, our goal is to ensure our readers never miss a story they’d love.”
In the coming months, The Post will introduce a more consistent look and feel across products, including the homepage, newsletters, article pages and apps. On the test version of the homepage, stories will use the full width of the page and readers will see more prominent section modules and topic bundles that are highly visual and curated by editors. It will also highlight opinion content, giving prominence to the voices that readers can only find through The Post. The product upgrades will also incorporate ways to enhance the advertising experience across web, mobile and apps.
“The Post produces a tremendous amount of content every day across a variety of subject areas. We worked with the product team to ensure we could better showcase this content for our readers and make it discoverable in a natural and easy way,” said Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, managing editor at The Post. “Readers shouldn’t have to work to find stories they’re looking for or keep up with big story lines in the news. Our readers’ time is valuable, so we’ve made it easier for them to find the stories they care about while making it more seamless for them to stay informed on the day’s top news.”
Over the last year, The Post’s world-class engineering team made considerable front and back-end changes to improve site speed and stability. The team re-platformed the site to Arc Publishing’s lightning-fast Fusion engine which has improved page load time by 75 percent. The team also simplified its code and developed a modular design system, enabling the product team to be more responsive to reader needs and quickly launch new features, while also greatly increasing The Post’s engineering capacity.
“As an organization, performance and speed are baked into our process and we prioritize them for every feature we build. We want readers to feel like our pages load instantaneously,” said Will Van Wazer, director of engineering for The Post. “With a more simplified tech stack, we are able to deliver on this. Readers will notice a faster site experience, our newsroom users will see improved speed to publish, and our engineering and product teams will be able to innovate and experiment more quickly.”
In addition, later this year The Post plans to introduce new features targeted at more casual readers, helping them quickly catch up on the news and stories they’ve missed since their last visit.