De Limburger and L1 launched a unique initiative in 2014: a joined digital news platform for the province of Limburg (NL). We took care of the UX and design in the creation of a new responsive website and 2 native mobile apps back then. Treating this project like a start-up helped us in achieving promising results in a very short timeframe. Now, 3 years later, 1Limburg and Nascom are still working together closely as a team for new releases of the platform.
The regional public broadcasting station of Limburg, L1 together with Media Groep Limburg (publisher of daily newspapers Dagblad De Limburger and Limburgs Dagblad) launched a digital news platform in 2014. This unique cooperation between them was baptized 1Limburg.
This was the first time a regional public broadcasting station and a publisher of regional daily papers joined forces to spread regional news. Their objective was to become the most important news source in the region. Their main focus was reaching out further and bringing trust-worthy and swift news reports to the consumer in Limburg (NL).
To reach this goal, they needed a user-friendly platform that was easily accessible. That’s why 1Limburg's news items are available through a website and on 2 free mobile apps (available on both iPhone and Android).
We treated them like a start-up at the beginning
At the beginning we made a real difference by adopting the mindset of a start-up and shaping the process as we went along. For this to be able to succeed, the client was asked to take a leap of faith and to trust that we could do this in a very short timeframe. Our approach and expertise in the field backed op our claims, and our decisiveness allowed us to take this project to the next level.
Attributing autonomy in the decision-making process to the PO at client side was something we worked very hard for. And it really paid off in the end.
What did we do in the last 3 years?
We started with the UX and design of their platform. Our first design we presented during the pitch was already spot on, giving us the confidence to continue with the same style. Since the website was going to be content driven, we gave it a dominant role and created a minimalistic design. Because the content would be visible on multiple channels, they had to belong to one family through a very recognisable style.
Aside from the website and mobile apps we developed a durable technological architecture that connects all touchpoints via a performant API.
Some of the most important updates during the next releases were:
- A photo album in which readers can vote on their favourite photos. One such example is the baby album special.
- Support for polls, quizzes, and social media widgets. All of which can be managed by 1Limburg.
- Additional technical changes that made it possible for 1Limburg to further personalise ads for their end users.
Make love not war, agile approach
Our approach was very clear from the start. We were convinced of the need for a PO at the client side.
1Limburg was quite comfortable working in an agile manner and installed a war room in their offices. Our people regularly worked from this war room to be nearby and to facilitate frequent face-to-face meetings with the team for the first release. The client liked this agile way of working and the transparent and well-structured organisation of the project.
Website of the year
The web platform was opened to the public by Governor Theo Bovens during an official event on September 17, 2014. This in itself is quite unique for an online application. The website was also nominated for website of the year in the Netherlands.
The entire team is very proud of what we achieved together. After just 3 weeks the website received 445,000 unique visitors and counted 3 million page views in total. The mobile apps were downloaded 50,600 times. During the last 3 weeks the website had 1,3 million unique visitors and 27 million page views. The mobile apps have been downloaded 225,000 times in total.
Performance of the platform remains an important factor given the vast increase of visitors it still experiences. Our team regularly holds meetings to analyse performance, and to introduce improvements when necessary. In rare cases a feature receives a complete technical overhaul to meet the new platform requirements, however, in most cases it will suffice to introduce several smaller optimisations to the project.
Learn and improve
To mark the end of the first release, we organised a project retrospective meeting. The goal of this session was to let the entire 1Limburg team look back upon the work processes, the events, and the delivered quality. All in the name of learning and improving as a team.
It was a very good meeting with over 20 people present. They were divided into small groups and invited to openly discuss the past few weeks on different levels. Every group presented their findings at the end of the session.
We are both constantly learning from this partnership and we look forward to keep improving the platform, together with both 1Limburg and their readers.