The Economist, one of the most influential international current affairs magazines in the world, was seeking to revamp The Economist.com homepage and website to create a mobile-first, content-led and overall better reading experience for global digital users, and to improve the product experience.
Recognising that the Internet was disrupting the publishing industry and that it was time for the 173-year old magazine to bring a new mindset to economist.com, Chief Technology Officer, Mark Brincat and Head of Front End Development, Angelo Repole commissioned YLD to make technology a core part of their business and an integral part of their storytelling as a publisher.
The year long project was part of a strategy to improve the economist.com user experience, support faster feature development and product launches, and create a more responsive system. The brief also included helping to make integration with digital partners easier, make existing content more easily re-packagable, increase advertising inventory, and to optimize acquisition and conversion activities.
YLD replaced all Economist.com user-facing pages, replacing every piece of Html. Our project team of five specialist engineers helped improve site architecture using Node.js and React.js technologies, to both update the systems and the way they talk to each while delivering a content-centric approach and a more flexible solution. We separated frontend development and the content repository, revamped the frontend and then built the content repository as a platform where content can easily be found and ingested at the frontend.
We were a key partner in the transformation process, helping the Chief Technology Officer and internal stakeholders build a vision around creating a better reading experience for their readers. As part of the cross-training, we worked with the economist.com engineering team to train them, build their confidence and introduce best practice in their delivery processes.
By the end of the 12 months, the entire Economist user base was migrated onto the new component based platform, so every user was seeing the new site. In addition to the web-only content such as blogs, debates and audio/video programmes available at economist.com, The Economist is available to download for reading on Android, Blackberry PlayBook, iPhone or iPad devices.
The project was considered a great success, offering readers a better user experience and the team the capabilities to manage higher traffic volumes while reducing system maintenance costs. In the financial year after the migration, economist.com digital subscriptions were up 23.7% YoY (The Economist Group 2017 Annual Report) and profitable circulation had increased 5% over the previous six-month period.
More of our work