The founders of The House News had a new vision to transform Hong Kong’s media. Dominated by a few large companies, Hong Kong has traditionally followed a more conservative approach to how news is published online, having evolved from a print oriented model. Inspired by the success of The Huffington Post, The House News fought to push this envelope forward using dynamically changing content, real time analytics, and engaging social media.
Our mission was to create a highly scalable and versatile system with robust features to manage rapidly changing editorial content while plugging into popular social media like Facebook. Flowloop provided design, strategy, and engineering for the site while working closely with the Founders and Executive Editor to make the vision into a reality.
Unlike traditional news media, the House News relies on rapidly reacting to changing news stories. The House News content management system was designed to allow category, menu, and other navigation changes on the fly, and even being able to insert whole new sections of news and related content quickly and dynamically.
As a regional hub, Hong Kong’s news is relevant to the greater Southeast Asia region as well China. Within months of launch, House News had already grown into the millions of monthly visitors, and increasing rapidly. Flowloop helped to design the foundation for a highly scalable system architecture that would be able to handle monthly growth as well as sudden traffic spikes.
With a large proportion of readers accessing content on mobile devices, House News needed to be mobile ready from the get go, integrating touch and swipe actions into the user interface.
The House News was one of the first major news sites in Hong Kong to leverage the local blogging community and have a heavy presence in social media. From the get go, affiliated blogs and social media were incorporated into the very structure of the website to spur discussion and distribution.
The project strategy was divided along the lines of design and editorial management. We sat down with the House News editorial team to discuss their strategy during the content creation process. Based on their editorial workflow, we designed the content management system to enable the team to follow a flexible editorial and approval process for rapidly reviewing and publishing new stories onto the site.
One of the starting requirements was to design a system architecture that would be able to grow rapidly as traffic increased, as well as handle traffic spikes without slowing down:
A high performance framework that is versatile enough to serve almost any type of system today. We chose Django to be the backbone of the House News site because it has proven performance in heavy traffic websites such as Instagram, Disqus, Mozilla and Pinterest.
We chose to deploy the website on Amazon’s elastic cloud service because of the flexible, fast responding scalability it provides as well as the ability to easily expand the architecture for growth.
Since it’s official launch, in less than a year The House News has transformed the Hong Kong media landscape. From their innovations in social media, to their community involvement, to their varied and dynamic content, it has managed to change the way that online media is used. Their outstanding commentary and opinion pieces are driving the discussions in Hong Kong and have attracted a large and rapidly growing following.
By designing a site built with their philosophy as a foundation and creating a reliable and powerful system architecture, we were able to provide House News with the ultimate platform from which to broadcast their message.