Why we chose the card as our interaction pattern for mobile publishing.

Kyryll Odobetskiy
Oct 23, 2014 · 3 min read

With Purple, we built a cloud CMS that allows broadcasters to manage and publish video-on-demand applications to everything from mobile to Smart TV’s.

Typically broadcasters like HBO have several apps and websites for their content, and these were getting increasingly harder to manage, especially cross-platform. We wanted to build one tool that uses a single database to manage and publish everything from one place.

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Video on Demand app with LiveTV and social integrations.

Since we wanted to be a single solution for media apps, we expanded the platform to include streaming, live TV and worked to add mobile publishing to replace legacy CMS’s (with one database for video, another for content, and inflexible templates for content presentation)

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Purple CMS with mobile publishing.

In a world of infinite content, how do you discover something interesting? In Google Now, things like weather, news, scores and traffic are packaged into cards and delivered to users in realtime. You don’t have to seek anything out: cards simply arrive to your feed the moment they are most useful.

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Google Now cards

Google sees the future of information going away from search, towards discovery, by packaging and surfacing information that is useful to you in proper context (ie. traffic info in the morning when you’re leaving for work)

The cards are not merely dumb notifications: they are actionable. I can launch maps and get directions directly from the card itself.

There are two important things about the card as an interaction model. The first is the card simply as a presentation mechanism. Photos, videos, polls, tweets, etc. all get organized into distinct containers of content. This is the content model that we have in our tools today.

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Content cards created in the CMS and published in the mobile feed.

But cards can become a lot more powerful when you package 3rd party content — not just photos and videos, but functionality as well. An ecosystem that supports third-party cards allows you to access content and features you need, where and when you need them. Do you need to download the BudLight Goal app when it has such a limited use case? Or can you integrate it into the experience and “deliver” it whenever your team scores? In-arena cards (seat upgrades, beer purchase etc.) make sense live during the game and you’re at the arena, but not otherwise. Cards can deliver the right packages (advertising, content, functionality) to the right users at the right time.

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So the same platform can scale not just for content distribution, but packaging what used to be reserved for dedicated apps. Facebook and Google are aggregating this kind of stuff on a larger scale, but we wanted to build a dedicated platform that does this for media companies. Instead of countless websites and apps that a user has to visit and download, we wanted to aggregate as much as possible into one channel.

Ultimately cards will allow us to scale from offering content in V1 to offering more and more personalized and contextual interactions right into the user’s feed.

Building Purple

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