We were hard at work behind the scenes at Social News Desk innovating on a better user experience for all of our clients. It was a general upgrade, high up on our to-do list and we had our sights set on mid-year to release what we were calling ‘New SND.’
And just like you – we were thrown a curveball of unprecedented proportions with a pandemic.
While we watched our newsroom clients reinvent themselves within days to become work-from-home types with full studios in their own homes…
While local news viewership and readership started hitting an all-time high…
SND usage suddenly peaked.
Gratefully, SND’s Chief Technology Officer, Aaron King is a professional problem solver. He didn’t hesitate to change his game plan when the game was changed.
Q&A with CTO, Aaron King
I asked Aaron a bunch of questions face-to-face (on webcam, of course) to get a good understanding of why your SND experience is about to improve and improve on a bumped-up timeline.
Aaron, a lot more people are logging into SND every day now – what challenges does that present?
SND is seeing peak max use right now. It started in early February because of Elections and then continued with coverage of COVID-19. Our average daily users within SND jumped by about 40%. For the most part our architecture was built so we don’t have to scale up (we’re good in that department) – but there are things that we have to accommodate, monitor and tweak. And it just seemed like now was the right time to do it.
So what was your major goal?
To improve our site’s performance for the absolute best experience. We call it ‘New SND.’
Awesome. What can our clients look forward to in New SND?
You’ll notice it’s way faster. We’re loading data differently. To give you one example, instead of loading every image, we load what’s in your view. That makes it quicker to load (comparison below).
Next big thing – is a new post UI. It’s redesigned with the ‘Classic SND’ experience in mind – but with new bells and whistles. It also loads faster, more obvious feature placement, and it uses less space on dashboard.
You can find your pages much faster when trying to post.
Tagging pages is QUICK (side-note, do you know we’re searching every public page in all of Facebook? That’s a lot of pages).
You mentioned browser performance improvements…
Yes! The site now uses less browser resources. So, if you have a ton of tabs open, let’s just say our site won’t bog down the other things you’re working on.
Talk a little about toggling…
Since we are introducing this during a busy news time, we want to give our users the option to migrate on their schedule. So, you can toggle to try out the new UI or toggle back to ‘Classic SND,’ if needed.
But we’re pretty confident you’ll like New SND even better…we do.
Any other details about things you’re noticing right now?
So. Many. Things. Something you won’t ‘see’ is that we’ve increased our server resources for Twitter because so many people are sleuthing Twitter specifically in regards to COVID-19.
75% of content being published right now is COVID-19 related. Certainly, content is more focused in terms of topics. And more focused in terms of frequency.
And consider this, since everyone is at home using the internet – we wanted to combat any slowdowns. Our new infrastructure uses less bandwidth and loads faster. Pretty perfect timing in terms of working from home and using your personal internet.
TeamSND is always here to coach you, guide you and listen to feedback about developments in our technology. Questions about New SND? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a quick reply!