May 6, 2014

PBS in UXMAG: Why PBS Uses Data to Drive Continuous Design

Matt McManus, Director of Product Management at PBS, wrote an article for titled “Why PBS Uses Data to Drive Continuous Design,” explaining why PBS, 3Pillar’s long-time client, uses a data-driven approach to fuel their product development efforts.

Matt discusses in the piece that for PBS to deliver its primary content offering – its wildly popular iPad app – they had to be able to adapt to emerging platforms while still retaining its strong brand presence. At the beginning of 2014, PBS was visible on eight platforms. By the end of this year they will be visible on double that number.

How? By adapting its already flexible agile development process, they will able to incrementally and simultaneously build for multiple platforms, while deploying a new system of agile management and continuous code deployment called Kanban. With this added flexibility, they will be able to utilize principles of data-driven and continuous design to double their platform offerings.

In order for a continuous design strategy to work, the entire team – designers or otherwise – must remain engaged throughout the entire build cycle. By doing so they will be able to respond to changes quickly. In PBS’s case, they created a cross product design team responsible for delivering reusable HTML/CSS/JS designs. That code goes into live interactive prototypes that the design team uses to show things like transitions that otherwise couldn’t be shown in a more static, document-based deliverable form.

By being proactive and adopting this approach, PBS is able to collect relevant data within their respective teams to draw strong conclusions and insights. They are able to create a clear direction for creating new products across multiple platforms while still remaining as adaptive as possible.

This is just part of what PBS is doing to further differentiate its product line across emerging markets. To find out more, read the entire article or the case study on the work we at 3Pillar have done with PBS.