The New York Times
The Storylines team was responsible for helping users understand and contextualize the news through prototyping and live experimentation. From the ground up, the team developed a system and process for experimenting with different modules and a maturity model for scaling them. Our maturation Model followed three stages: New, Repeatable, Scaled.
As the team started to build experiments we leveraged an existing workflow used by our Graphics desk to publish interactive stories to the website. Each experiment at this stage is effectively a tiny html website that is iframed onto The New York Times website. Content was authored in Google Docs using our internal ArchieML syntax and working closely with the analytics teams, we were able to ensure that high-fidelty data was gathered on each experiment. Changes can be made instantly given that it is not an on-platform solution so this presented opportunities for quick iteratation.
At this stage in our maturation model, it is clear that we want to continue to explore the experiment by rolling it out in more instances. In the early stages this meant manually copying each project and updating its content to the new Storyline. Overtime we began to investigate ways of powering multiple experiments from the same Google Doc while also beginning to build a CMS for handling experimentation.
Our new CMS, called PRISM, meant that the team could templatize our experiments and make them repeatable by default. It used the same underlying techniques of the Interactive workflow but presented a single interface for managing all experiments that the team was running.