CBC Digital Labs
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CBC Digital Labs

What does the Native Apps and Voice Products team do at CBC?

This post is part of a series on “What teams do at CBC” in 2021. In each blog post we are celebrating one of our amazing teams in Digital Strategy and Products at CBC and shed light on the fantastic work they do. Teams will be sharing about how their work fulfills CBC’s mission and serves our Canadian audience. Team members will also talk about what it is like to be on their team and what they do for fun.

Let’s meet the CBC News & Sports Native Apps team. We are made up of 3 Android developers — Anish, Asad & Stan, 3 iOS developers — Aditi, Pat & Shreve, 2 UX Professionals — Jason & Maisha, an Agile Team Lead — Jonny, and 2 Product Leads — Joanna & Mathew.

Q: Icebreaker: What’s your favourite CBC TV?

Dragons Den is a crowd pleaser for Pat, Aditi, and Maisha. Schitt’s Creek is a favourite for Stan, Joanna, and Anish who each have a fondness for Alexis every time she says, ‘Ew, David’. Some of us also tune into The Fifth Estate, Kids in the Hall, Kim’s Convenience, Murdoch Mysteries, and Burden of Truth. But let’s not forget about the podcasts! In keeping with our love of mobile, a few of our favourite podcasts include Front Burner, Pop Chat, and Uncover.

Q: What does your team do?

CBC News and CBC Sports apps are used and loved by millions of loyal Canadians. Our Apps & Voice Platforms team supports the continued success and evolution of these and other CBC apps. We are committed to ensuring our Canadian audience has the best media experience possible.

Q: How does your team’s work fit in overall with CBC’s mission and Canadian audience?

We keep up to date with the latest technologies and trends of Canadian behaviours and habits. We know that devices like smartphones, tablets, and smart speakers are ingrained in Canadians’ daily lives, and we want to present CBC’s content in a way that feels personal and relevant to everyone.

Q: What does a typical day look like for the team?

Whether working in the office or remotely, our team works together to design and implement great mobile products. A typical developer day starts with a quick stand up meeting to make sure the dev’s, designers and product managers are all coordinated. After that we’re onto coding! We are a multi-disciplinary team, so we may be meeting with our resident apps UX Researcher and Product Designer to polish new feature ideas and drive the product forward.

Q: What roles does your team have?

As mentioned we are a multi-discipline team that builds apps for each platform we support. We have Android Developers, iOS Developers, a Product Designer, User Experience Researcher, Product Owner, Product Manager, Agile Team Lead, Conversational AI Software Developer, and Content & Conversation Designer. Together, we work and strive to deliver the best media experience possible for our audiences around the world.

Q: What tools and technologies does your team use?

We develop using the latest platform tools available for iOS and Android. We use modern third-party libraries where it makes sense. We follow the best practices for each platform to ensure our Architecture is up-to-date.

The hashtags: Xcode, Android Studio, GitKraken, Swift, Obj-C, Kotlin, Fastlane, Gradle, Retrofit, Glide, Jetpack

For collaborating, planning, and reporting, we use tools like Slack, Google Meets, JIRA, Confluence, Amplitude and Mural. We have weekly donut chats to keep things light.

Q: What are some recent exciting projects or products your team developed?

The CBC Tokyo 2020 app was our most recent success. We played a role in helping Canadians experience and enjoy the best of the Olympics. By the time the Olympics were over, Canadians watched more than 37 million streams. It’s exciting to work with such a large audience and we’re looking forward to doing it all again with the upcoming winter Olympics.

Special events aside, our passion is to continually improve the CBC News and CBC Sports apps so that our audience not only has access to Canadian stories but is also engaged by them. It’s exciting to work with new platform technologies, from widgets to darkmode, there’s always something new that will expand the mobile experience.

Q: What are some of the challenges your team faces?

Making products that are compelling and easy-to-use for all Canadians takes refinement, focus, and testing. Balancing the use of new technologies while trying to serve as many Canadians as possible is difficult. We make products that we hope will appeal to people of all ages and varying abilities. To achieve this, normally, we’d conduct in-person research. Due to the pandemic, we’ve had to pivot which in turn has amplified remote research! Over the past year and a half, we have conducted a great amount of remote research that spanned coast to coast. It was incredibly valuable, especially during the Olympics, to hear first-hand, how our Olympics app was used by users across the country.

Q: Is your team hiring?

Yes, we are. We are looking to hire both Android and iOS developers in the next few months. Our Native Apps postings as well as other CBC digital opportunities are available online for your consideration.

Q: What does your team do for fun?

We value finding time to bond through a variety of activities. This has been especially important to us through the pandemic. Our team building activities include:

  • ‘Team time fun time’ where we get together every month to play games. Even in this virtual set-up, we get the thrill of playing codenames and the enjoyment of drawing games.
  • ‘Team tech time’, where we share new experiments, learnings and experiences with each other.
  • We have a ‘nomz’ Slack channel, where we share our food adventures, ideas, and photos. With our diverse backgrounds, the nomz channel opens our minds and tummies to different cuisines and recipes that are shared by our teammates. If you are a foodie then this channel is for you.
  • And after enjoying all these calories, it was decided we needed a team walking challenge which resets every week.

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

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Telling stories about who we are, what we are doing, what we are learning, and how we are making decisions as we work to create the best possible experiences for Canadians in digital spaces.

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