Driving delivery and best practice at The Telegraph.

The Telegraph has provided trusted commentary and news analysis for over 150 years. Every month, millions of readers engage with its content directly from a mobile device and, with a previous app already available, The Telegraph is no stranger to mobile.

However, following an extensive redesign of the print paper, website, and iPad edition, came an increasing awareness that it was also time rethink the mobile experience. For The Telegraph, it was critical that any new mobile product met rising reader expectations and helped to engage a wider, younger audience.

With the UX and visual designs already well developed, The Telegraph approached The App Business (TAB) to collaborate on the development of the project. With proven experience redefining the delivery of news content for mobile, TAB was an ideal partner - able to hit the ground running with tried-and-tested software engineering skills to ensure the new app met delivery deadlines without compromising quality.

Honing the product vision

The first priority, however, was to refine the new product’s vision and proposition. Reviewing the product through the lens of Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI), the joint team were able to create a stronger, clearer product vision. This enabled more effective prioritisation of features for the product’s initial launch.

An initial series of workshops, led by TAB, not only provided greater clarity around the reader journey and proposition, but proved instrumental in validating The Telegraph’s designs. This included a closer look at critical areas, like navigation, which were subsequently revisited in line with feedback to allow the user to scroll through a personalised feed with a simple, single swipe.

ABOVE: Telegraph readers can select the topics of interest to them, resulting in a personalised feed of news and entertainment in the mobile app.

Embedding best practice

Delivering The Telegraph’s extensive editorial content to readers on mobile required a highly configurable, modular architecture that could integrate a wide variety of data and rapidly deliver it to readers via mobile.

With that in mind, TAB developed two key microservices that integrated with existing, complex platforms. Drawing data directly from the content API that serves The Telegraph’s Google AMP platform integration, the services allow for lean, ‘eager’ caching of data.

This ensures information is delivered twelve times faster to mobile than would otherwise be possible through the existing content API. In addition, the services parse data of non-mobile elements so that it can be quickly translated and optimised for delivery to a user’s mobile device. 

ABOVE: Integrating with a wide range of existing data, 'eager' caching ensures information is delivered twelve times faster to mobile.

It was also important that the final product could be easily managed by The Telegraph’s internal development team. This meant ensuring the new app was built using languages already familiar to internal developers - namely, Swift for iOS, Java with RXJava for Android, and Java with Spring Boot for the product’s backend infrastructure. 

TAB’s engineers provided technical leadership throughout, and partnered with internal teams extensively to openly share knowledge and best practice. Working side by side, this transfer of knowledge has helped strengthen The Telegraph’s development capability and allowed for a smooth handover post-launch.

In a matter of weeks, The Telegraph was able to launch a fresh and compelling new product to market, across both iOS and Android (shown below)

The new Telegraph app is available across both iOS and Android.

Since launch, the new app has had a further four updates. Early data indicates the app is performing well, and continues to be iterated in line with user feedback.

The overall success of the project is testament to the strong collaborative and co-sourced approach fostered by TAB, and the technical leadership and best practice shared by our highly experienced mobile engineers. Not only were challenging delivery deadlines met, but The Telegraph team has been set up for future success with a deeper, more applied understanding of Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI).

"The open, highly collaborative nature of TAB really stood out, allowing us to take a 'one team' approach. The combination of joint technical leadership, The Telegraph’s understanding of Lean product development and TAB’s ODI process was vital. TAB worked extremely hard to enhance and strengthen our own capability. The transparency and productivity of the team meant we delivered at great pace, and produced an app that's robust, fast and delightful."

Mark Channon

Lead Product Manager, Telegraph Media Group

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