CBC Digital Labs
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CBC Digital Labs

Beijing 2022: How do KIDS get ready for Olympics at CBC?

This post is part of a series on “How do we get ready for a big event at CBC?” . In each blog post, individuals and teams will share how we create the personal, relevant, and engaging experiences that Canadians expect. Our goal is to make sure all Canadians see themselves reflected in our digital services while connecting them to the many communities and voices that make our country great.

On the CBC Kids Product team, we love the Olympics. Because our audience is so distinct from much of the rest of CBC, we’re often working on our own initiatives in relative isolation. But the Olympics means being part of a huge effort across the entire organization. Not only that, it means an opportunity to try some fun new things and to get a big influx of new users interacting with our work.

Photos by zhenzhong_liu, stem.T4L, and Thomas Park on Unsplash

When building products for kids, we have to think about the context in which they will be used. In the case of the Beijing Olympics, we know with some certainty that most kids are not seeking out live streams of the events — if for no other reason that they’re happening in the middle of the night on our side of the world, when most of our audience (ages 7–11) is asleep. And despite how much a kid might love snowboarding, it’s not likely they’re staying up until 3am to watch the events live.

We also know, based on the time of visits and the referring domains, that many users come to our winter Olympics offerings from the classroom — we heard from so many educators during the PyeongChang Games about how they were using our Olympics website, including the video, text and game-based content — as a part of their lesson plans.

The objective of the Kids Olympics site is one of sharing knowledge and information — we want young Canadians to understand the fundamentals of the sports and host countries so that they too can feel included and swept up in the Olympic spirit. With that in mind, we’re endeavouring to replicate our success from past games, and keeping the structure and UI of the site largely consistent.

On the back end, however, our senior developers, Sean Bennett and Brooke Stephens, have been thinking a lot about how to reduce our technical debt while also improving our architecture across our suite of products. To accomplish that, we decided to incorporate our Olympics site into the already existing CMS for our CBC Kids website. Past iterations involved building a completely separate instance, with its own CMS and its own front end. But thanks to this direction, we are able to reduce our development time by leveraging existing code, building new features that can be used across multiple products and saving the CBC Kids content producers the time they would usually spend switching between CMSes.

We also approached the design of the Beijing 2022 website a little differently; in the past we have worked with the CBC Kids art team, who would produce assets and provide art direction. For this Olympics, however, we were able to steer the ship completely, and our Product Designer, Kevin Kimmett, produced all of the assets and designs required for this experience, which meant our dependencies were reduced and we were able to get our work ready and IOC-approved in record time.

The Olympic Games is an exciting opportunity for CBC Kids to contribute to a major initiative across the organization, while also delivering a gold-standard experience to our audience of Canadian kids.

To join our teams at CBC, check out our current openings here.

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