The multi-media conglomerate driven by tech — How Buzzfeed’s design team created a single source of truth with Marvel

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    Marvel supports their global business scale of work and high project activity

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    Marvel high number of designs uploaded by their 20 strong design team

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    Designers use Marvel to share work with content and other teams across the company

Industry: Media and Tech
Locations: Global
Key Feature: Prototyping

A little over 10 years ago, Buzzfeed didn’t exist. Today, it has a global audience of 650 million people. It’s combination of light, easy-to-digest content paired with award winning journalism has made it one of the world’s most valuable digital media companies. Marvel’s prototyping and collaboration tools has helped this global media company maintain consistency across teams all over the world as it grows and expands.

“We’re a multi-media conglomerate with tons of brands doing different things with different goals and missions. It’s really difficult to sum-up BuzzFeed in one sentence,” explains Cap Watkins, Vice President of Design for BuzzFeed.

Cap oversees a product design team of around 20 people. But with a company as large as BuzzFeed - it has 1,700 staff in offices in seven different countries - his team of designers work in both New York and Los Angeles, requiring coordination across time zones.

“Our designers work closely with our content creators and other disciplines across the company. For instance, we have a news team who works with the news editors, a brand team that works with Tasty, and other teams that works with our business units.”

Working across a number of consumer products means, inevitably, there will be overlap. One of Cap’s top priorities is for the teams to have an awareness of what others across the business are doing.

“It is the biggest struggle of design teams that scale up: how do you keep everyone informed and the work consistent, across increasingly larger and larger teams?”

A single source of truth

Cap noticed members of his team had signed up for personal accounts with Marvel. With its ease of use, streamlined features and an existing buy-in from the team Cap says, “It won.”

Cap and his team use Marvel for two core functions: prototyping and collaboration. Last year, the team used this functionality to help prototype the user experience of the Tasty Cooktop, a smart cooker that can monitor your food’s progress and send it to a smartphone app.

Marvel is a tool in our designers’ toolkit for them to share their work and what stage it’s in with the rest of the team

With the complicated workflows that come along with trying to make cooking more automatic, Marvel was essential.

Their designers continue to use it to quickly share iterations of their work and allow others to click through and compare versions easily.

A new way to build features

All the teams at BuzzFeed work differently. Marvel’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of teams has made it invaluable as the teams grow.

“Everybody likes Marvel because it’s very simple, it’s straightforward. I can update it, share a link and boom, it’s there. That’s a gift”

“We use Basecamp for discussion, and Marvel works really well with that system.” But other companies might use Confluence, Jira and Slack, which Marvel is also designed to work seamlessly with. “It’s been a blessing for the whole team, I think.”

BuzzFeed has rapidly become a globally recognised and respected media company. With its speed of growth, there will always be a need to adapt, especially on the design and product side. Thanks to Marvel’s simplicity and versatility, BuzzFeed has been able to scale its design team, diversify its product, and maintain the consistency and core design principles that make the company successful.

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