MSN London 2012 Olympic Site
We built the MSN 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics mobile (smartphone and tablet) sites in under 100 days from commission to launch, which then enjoyed great popularity amongst users. See how .Net magazine covered the project:
MSN Apps Gallery & DigiMall
We developed the Apps Gallery for MSN Germany. It is a highly configurable content managed web application which promotes free downloadable software such as games, wallpapers and screensavers.
Our involvement in the project started with Digimall, an MSN website that promotes PCs and laptops sold by Microsoft partners. We were one of several firms involved in the initial development of its underlying technology platform and provided support as it was customised and rolled out to new geographic markets.
One of the first markets to roll out a site under this programme was MSN Germany. After the initial success of Digimall, MSN were eager to further enhance the system to create an Apps Store / Gallery through which users could download items to customize their computers (eg screensavers) as well as access a wide range of apps and widgets.
To achieve this, MSN asked us to carry out a wide reaching re-engineering of the original DigiMall platform. This involved producing a richer user experience, introducing social networking functionality and giving content managers greater flexibility for overseeing the site on a day-to-day basis.
The layout of the pages on the site is in a series of different modules, which can be re-arranged on the page in many different configurations depending on requirements. It is also integrated with Windows Live ID so that pages can be personalised to different user preferences and people can comment and rate the various apps.
Click here to see the German MSN Apps Gallery in action.
Windows Phone Development
Because of our early involvement with Silverlight and now HTML5, we have worked closely with the Microsoft team behind the mobile Windows Phone technology. Indeed, when WP7 lauched in October 2010, Microsoft asked Governor Technology to build an App for MSN.
MSN commissioned the 'Celebrity Wall' App (pictured below) which enables users to access and view celebrity news stories, images and video content from MSN's UK website.
The App user sees a scrollable wall of tiled celebrity images of varying sizes, each one - when tapped - opening to a piece of underlying content, be it video, image or a text. These tiles are dynamically displayed, with the most recent stories floating to the front.
As well as optimising the user experience, we ensured that the technical structure of the app was strong and sound. This included minimising download times and maximising content availability in situations of low or no phone signal. On launch, the Celeb App quickly established itself as one of the best entertainments apps in the market.
This Windows Phone App was also built so that new versions of it could be easily created for other MSN content feeds. This enables MSN to extend the App format across different geographic and content areas - eg MSN has rolled out a Canadadian celeb app as well as apps with news and cars content.
Read more about our Windows Phone App Development.
Channelizer is a website creation technology used by MSN and its partners to build sites that appear to visitors to be part of the main MSN platform. It also feeds MSN adverts into defined slots on these sites and provides click-rate reporting for advertisers.
In 2009, Governor Technology took over responsibility for providing technical support to Channelizer customers in some 40 markets around the world. We updated all the related documentation and now provide responsive technical help and bug fixing to hundreds of users responsible for thousands of sites that rely on Channelizer. We also regularly recommend and carry out updates to the underlying Channelizer software to improve the system and user experience.
Silverlight Website for Kirill Web Drama
Kirill is a drama serial produced by Endemol TV (the makers of Big Brother) and made available exclusively online through an MSN Entertainment website. The entire Kirill website including the video player and all the other interactive features, like deep zoom, were built by Governor Technology using Silverlight 2 which was only available in beta form at the time.
We were early adopters of Silverlight and so were able to work closely with Microsoft's design team to turn visual concepts for a user experience into one of the best video websites ever seen at the time.
"Myself and others around the business were delighted by the hub you created. It was slick, delivered on time and to budget. You responded to our requests quickly and we had a great line of communication with you... The overriding feedback we get is how modern, professional and polished the site looked. It really helped create a unique experience that delighted our users and complimented the story perfectly."
Chris Lunn, MSN Video Content Manager
However it was not all just about looks and cool animation. The application was being sponsored by several MSN clients - and this meant we also had to integrate sophisticated user tracking and page counting mechanisms into it - not easy when the whole concept of a 'page' doesn't really exist in Silverlight.
Plus there was an administrative 'back end' that allows MSN editors to regularly update the content - adding new episodes and information about characters as they appear, and updating blog stories.
The Kirill story proved a great success to audiences worldwide and can be found at http://kirill.uk.msn.com/ (to view this you will be asked to download Silverlight to your computer if you haven't already - only takes a mo).
MSN CMS Common Services Layer
Microsoft's content rich portal, MSN, is the sixth most visited website on the planet and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in annual advertising revenue for Microsoft.
Because it has over 40 country and regional sites, each one with its own team of editors, it needs a powerful Content Management System (CMS) to handle and deliver ever-changing rich content to its different audiences.
MSN asked us to create a brand new set of page templates to be made available through the CMS and which were to be populated with content by the editors.
A specially assembled development team from Governor Technology spent six months developing a comprehensive range of templates that could work seamlessly across different global markets, languages, and subject areas, whilst still giving the editors freedom to create pages that are individualised to the needs of their different audiences.
The project was delivered ahead of schedule in January 2009, to considerable acclaim from the regional editors and their teams. We also provided support to the CMS users during the transition to the new templates.