In early 2013, the MSNBC team contacted Lullabot about an unprecedented opportunity: reinvent a major cable news network's web site. After the expiration of NBC Universal and MSN’s web partnership, MSNBC had the opportunity to start from scratch, building a new web presence to match their network’s well-established reputation in broadcast news. However, tight timelines and the intense demands of the broadcast media environment meant there was no room for missteps.
Lullabot joined the project early, leading the site’s technical architecture and working closely with the MSNBC editorial staff to better understand the needs of their fast-paced workflow. Lullabot’s Creative Director Jared Ponchot served as a design consultant to both MSNBC and a design team from Sapient Nitro. Jared helped advocate for a mobile-first, responsive approach and a design approach that maintained a consistent content model and consumption experience across all device types and sizes. Senior Digital Strategist Jeff Eaton coordinated the design of the site’s new content model, inventory of the company’s existing content repositories, and the design of new editorial tools for MSNBC’s production team.
Richard Wolffe, MSNBC.com VP and Executive Editor, worked closely with all of the teams and guided the project’s vision, keeping the site true to MSNBC’s brand despite intense deadline pressure. John Keegan, VP of Technology Strategy for NBC News Digital, led MSNBC’s team of internal developers and project managers, coordinating efforts with Lullabot to help ensure a successful launch.
Senior Architect Karen Stevenson orchestrated the massive 10 month effort alongside Lullabot’s Senior Project Manager Jerad Bitner. Together, they coordinated Lullabot's development efforts as well as the ongoing balancing act between complex business requirements, tight deadlines, and rapidly evolving visual design. Four separate teams of developers worked on distinct sub-projects, along with internal teams from NBC Universal’s web services department, video team, and ad operations unit. Our friends at Phase 2 Interactive stepped in to help build the site’s advanced search functionality.
The site’s unique community-oriented commenting system is built on NBC Universal’s Newsvine platform. To ensure smooth performance even under heavy load, the Lullabot development team created a client-side AngularJS application, weaving social content into the high-performance Drupal-hosted editorial content.
The new MSNBC.com launched in October 2013 with a mobile-friendly responsive design and a highly curated front-page experience. The new site performs smoothly, even under the heavy traffic spikes that result from heavy online and broadcast promotion during breaking stories. The platform gives MSNBC’s editorial team and its community of highly-engaged viewers a new set of news coverage and commentary tools. The new design, speedy performance, and streamlined access to issue-oriented news have won praise from the site’s users as well as media watchers.