As part of The Washington Post’s plan to vastly improve its web platform — to make it faster, more reader-focused, more dynamic and easier to use — the newspaper is creating WPNYC, a design and development office based in New York City. Sarah Sampsel, The Post’s director of digital strategy and Greg Franczyk, the principal architect, will be leading this expansion, which will involve hiring more than a dozen new employees. Below, Sampsel outlines more details behind the move.
When WPNYC was first announced a Post press release stated that “the team will be focused on the future of The Post’s web platform and creating a faster, more reader-focused product.” Can you share any specific insights into what that might mean?
Currently on washingtonpost.com, there are several design and organizational issues that keep people from finding what they need. And since the last redesign, reader expectations and behaviors have changed – mobile devices, search and social media play a more important role in how people are consuming us. We need to improve all those experiences for people so we can be as useful to them as possible, wherever and whenever they need.
We will also spend some time reorganizing the way our site is presented to make things easier for people to find, creating a more reader-centric, easy-to-use design. We will continue to rethink the tools we use to publish and create stories to make it easier for writers and editors. We will also continue to make our pages faster so page load times are optimized for all levels of connectivity.
What was the impetus behind moving platform and product design and development to New York City?
The thinking is that we are growing. We’re not just moving all our design and development resources to a new place. We will always have tremendous talent in D.C. in design, engineering and product. The NYC office is just another hub where we can expand our resources and hire more folks that are already based there. We will continue to actively hire design and development resources in both locations.
There’s certainly a lot of design and development talent based in the Big Apple, but one trade-off is moving away from stakeholders in Washington, D.C. How will those stakeholders remain involved in the platform and product development process?
We will remain closely synced with the stakeholders in D.C., making trips back and forth, and communicating on a daily basis about what’s going on.
What is the general timeline of this expansion? When will hiring for the new positions begin, and how quickly do you expect to get the office up to full speed?
My colleague Greg Franczyk and I have already relocated to NYC. We’re both actively hiring and hope to have the whole team assembled by early summer. Here are the design and development jobs we have posted.