September 28, 2023
In 2022 Bloomberg Media CEO M. Scott Havens announced the company’s shift to an Audience-First mentality with every action and decision the teams make, by investing the time to understand our customers across every platform we operate and to focus on building features, products and businesses that super-serve them. The new blog series, “How We’re Keeping Our Audience First” written by the teams implementing this mandate, will help show how Bloomberg Media is better serving our users.
The fourth post of this series explains how Bloomberg Media is enhancing the reader experience online in news articles.
By Nick Kurzum – Senior Product Manager, Bloomberg Media
Bloomberg.com’s news coverage reaches an audience of tens of millions of monthly readers around the world. Our global team of 2,700 journalists publishes hundreds of articles each day, infused with data and insight that arms readers with the context they need to succeed in their careers and personal lives. This is why delivering a top-tier reading experience is so critical for our readers and our business.
Over the past few years, changes in the media industry prompted us to rethink whether incremental changes to our articles would be enough to meet the evolving needs of our readers and business.
- As the internet has matured, users grew to expect lightning fast load times from all sites. More and more traffic has shifted (and continues to shift) to mobile, where speed and form factor are of paramount importance.
- Bloomberg Media has grown into a true multi-platform business. In addition to our text news, we offer video on two platforms, BTV and Originals, radio, podcasts, newsletters, graphics, and market data. We infuse all of this into our reporting to help our readers understand why each story is important.
- Our audience-first approach means we need to continue to deliver value to our subscribers. Shipping features and enhancements quickly and consistently will be critical to our success going forward. This means we need modern infrastructure that allows us to accelerate how fast we can go-to-market.
Meeting the changing needs of our audience and our business requires us to ensure that the reading experience on our site is top notch.
This is why we sought to make drastic improvements to both the performance and UX for one of the most essential components of Bloomberg.com — our news articles.
How we Enhanced Our Articles
Tackling this ambitious goal required an equally ambitious approach – one that we determined would be best addressed with a complete overhaul of the application that powers articles on Bloomberg.com.
The new application is designed from the ground up to meet the evolving needs of our audience and business through a focus on performance and user experience improvements.
Performance can mean many things but, for this effort, we measured success using Web Vitals, a set of industry-standard metrics that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web. Web Vitals are directly tied to the user experience, focusing on details like how fast articles load, their visual stability, and their level of interactivity.
Rewriting the entire application gave our engineering teams the freedom to architect a solution that focuses on performance optimizations. For example, the application is built on a modern framework, which gave us some performance gains out of the box. It also fetches core article assets like images on the server, so they are present when the page first loads. It caches fonts so they don’t need to be re-retrieved on every page request.
Our engineering team also went to great lengths to ensure that this application is more supportable in the long-term. With drastic reductions in lines of code, shared UI components, and templating for new pages, the new application allows us to build and deploy features and enhancements faster, a win / win for our business and users.
After launch, we measured over a 50% increase in Performance Score, a composite score that summarizes Web Vitals. For users, this means faster load speeds, fewer elements shifting around on the page, and improved responsiveness when they want to dive deeper.
An Audience First Reading Experience
We also knew that a top-tier reading experience needed to be a key part of this update.
So much of Bloomberg’s reporting is infused with data, long- and short-form video from our two streaming channels, audio excerpts from our radio station and podcasts, and quotes from experts from around the newsroom. All of this plays a role in giving our audience the information they need to succeed and deserves to be shown in its best light.
We took a holistic look at the reading experience and made changes to improve readability, particularly on smaller screens, and to streamline core reader features.
- Larger font sizes and wider body columns on most screens means that text is easier to read.
- Key features such as the ability to listen to an article and follow our authors have been revamped for clarity and consistency to provide a more intuitive experience.
- We also removed some less-utilized features to refocus attention on the article itself, resulting in an overall enhanced reading experience.
This journey represents a significant milestone in our commitment to providing our audience with the best possible reading experience.
This work is far from over. Rather, this achievement serves as a foundation upon which we can continue to build and innovate. We look forward to continuing to be the trusted source of information and insight for readers around the world.