Ryan Varick

Bleacher Report Writer Tools

Introduction

Writers for Bleacher Report, the world's second largest sports website, create hundreds of articles per day using a proprietary, internally developed content management system (CMS). In 2013 I led an effort to redesign the CMS from a complex, form-driven UI that grew organically over 5+ years to a simple visual editor.

Process

I started with research. Working with product management, I conducted a content inventory to determine what types of media Bleacher Report produced, in what quantities, and how that mix was changing over time. We observed writers interacting with the existing system, cataloging the tools and processes that they used to create new articles. I conducted a detailed analysis of the existing system.

Auditing the modal dialogs used by the old system.

Before, writers started by choosing from a list of poorly defined, overlapping templates. Then they entered their article's text into a form. After submitting the form they selected media to insert into their article. Finally they added metadata for publication.

Unfortunately our research indicated that writers rarely followed such an organized, efficient process. The media they used strongly influenced their writing, and vice-versa. We used this information to simplify process, eliminating all but three templates and combining text entry and media selection into a single, consolidated visual editor.

Wireframes I prepared based on our research.

High-fidelity mockup. Visual design by Cat Oshiro.