Daily Maverick News Website

Online news platform Daily Maverick required a comprehensive redesign and redevelopment of their website.

Daily Maverick News Website

The client

Founded in 2009, Daily Maverick is a South African news publishing company that is known for its independent, investigative journalism. Their content focuses on politics, business, and current affairs in South Africa and the broader African continent.

Daily Maverick has earned a reputation for its in-depth analysis, fearless reporting, and strong editorial stance. The publication often takes on topics that are controversial or underreported, striving to provide readers with accurate and unbiased information.

Realm Digital is proud to have worked on a variety of successful projects with Daily Maverick. Our partnership has spanned over a decade, which has allowed us to gain a deep understanding of their unique business needs.

“We are incredibly proud of the team at Daily Maverick and the important contribution they make to SA politics through their investigative journalism. Given the critical role their website plays in the dissemination of their content internationally, we were honored to be involved.”

Simon Bestbier
CEO, Realm Digital

The brief

Daily Maverick’s goal was to deeply consider the wants and needs of their readers, and optimise their news website to ensure that the user experience was engaging and satisfying.

After some analysis, it was clear that what was required was a comprehensive redesign and redevelopment of their news website. Stepping away from archaic models, the goal was to completely rethink how users engage with news and information online. Considering an audience of over a million monthly readers, the updated website would need to cater to many diverse preferences relating to the consumption of, and interaction with, news and information.

Since the inception of their original website, Daily Maverick had a functionality wishlist that they hoped to implement at the same time as the redesign. One of these items related to the smart moderation of user comments, rather than a manual system which is labour and time-intensive. The challenge was to achieve these goals while ensuring that the website continued to perform optimally for users.

The solution

Ream Digital and Daily Maverick collaborated closely to discover solutions that would meet the unique requirements of their website and its users. The biggest feature of the updated site was a dedicated preference centre for all registered users. Once logged in, users would be able to set up a personalised profile with capabilities including saving articles for later reading, following their favourite authors, as well as adjusting alert preferences for newsletters and other notifications.

This solution presented a challenge related to user profile customisations: the website performance could be compromised with countless scenarios and requests being sent to the server simultaneously. To mitigate this risk, the Realm development team conducted extensive testing and optimisation solutions to maintain website performance, despite the added complexity.

Regarding moderation of user comments, we introduced a solution that primarily relies on a formalised and automated vetting process in which readers review each other’s comments. In this system, submitted comments enter a pool to be moderated by fellow readers, excluding the original commenter. Once the comments have been vetted, they are displayed on the website.

Finally, upgrades to many back-end systems and servers were necessary for ongoing scaling, while at the same time sustaining full functionality for users.

The results

The collaboration between Daily Maverick and Realm Digital resulted in a fully customised and high-quality news website that caters to a large number of visitors, while providing tailored experiences for individual users. The partnership has brought the Daily Maverick vision to life and allowed them to focus on journalism without overinvesting in tech resources, allowing them to grow their business at an affordable rate.

The user profile feature has increased user engagement and satisfaction by allowing readers to tailor their experience and interaction with news articles. The upgrades led to the launch of the Daily Maverick membership programme, Maverick Insider, which boasts over 17 500 contributors as of May 2022.

Our automated solution to comment moderation has resulted in time and cost reductions for the client, with Realm’s development team overcoming the challenge of accommodating the data that Daily Maverick needs to collect when reviewing all submissions. Consequently, the solution allows users to feel part of a community, helping to provide a safe and comfortable environment while interacting with news articles and other readers.

Since this project, Daily Maverick’s development skills have grown in-house, yet our relationship has not only sustained but transformed. Due to our deep understanding of their unique business and its needs, Realm has become a trusted innovation partner: generating forward-thinking concepts, crafting strategic advice, and providing the means to build and integrate solutions where needed.

“Realm Digital worked religiously with our team to bring the new Daily Maverick site to life – despite working on a tight budget and the huge scope that a news site entails. They worked closely with us in all aspects of the project and their input and commitment helped shape the final product that we are extremely proud of.”

Styli Charalambous
Co-Founder & CEO, Daily Maverick

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Services Provided

Technologies Used

  • WordPress