Data Engineering & Architecture

A uniform platform for all social media dashboards

The online content network of Germany’s broadcasters ARD and ZDF, funk, serves teenagers and young adults (14 to 29) across social media channels. These include YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram among others. Monitoring and analysis of the published content is essential in making decisions based on how different content performs across platforms. The Business Intelligence Team at funk  is responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining the in-house data infrastructure. This has enabled the organization to integrate data from different social media platforms as well as to develop its own machine learning models to generate insights and internal services. Chartio was used as data visualization tool, but when its shutdown was announced due to the incorporation into Atlassian, funk had to migrate all dashboards to a new visualization platform within a short time.

They decided to build their own customized dashboards by using Plotly Dash. This platform is a highly customizable open-source library, which allows development and deployment of browser-based data apps using Python. Recognizing that further support was needed to realize the migration, funk reached out to FELD M for support.

5 months-target:

  • Redesign ten dashboards that extend over six social media platforms and move them to the new platform.
  • Create one portal to access dashboards and social media data depending on users’ access rights.
  • Use Plotly Dash to build completely customizable dashboards.

Our approach

The development of a portfolio of several dashboards for tracking content performance and marketing activities using Chartio had been entrusted to funk’s dedicated data engineers. The dashboards were to be provided to the different stakeholders ranging from analysts to managers. These dashboards should not only be migrated within the following five months, but also redesigned while switching to Plotly Dash. The FELD M data product team followed Design Thinking principles to kick off the project with a thorough planning phase. We crafted a precise definition of the objectives and the business requirements as well as a clear timeline with the relevant milestones. This enabled us to assemble the right team covering business intelligence and data engineering skills.

FELD M and funk agreed on an agile working mode with sprints, responsibilities and expectations assigned to both parties. FELD M analyzed the existing dashboards in Chartio and composed a sketch for the overarching dashboards’ blueprint. This was the starting point for iteratively improving the design and user experience as well as developing a uniform template to give the whole platform the same look and feel. The developed dashboard template functionality was then capitalized on to create all other needed dashboards. Each was equipped with a customized CSS file that helps tailor aesthetics to the platform’s theme.

A successful transition

When Chartio was effectively shut down, all users had already become accustomed to using the new platform and entirely relying on the newly developed interfaces. The in-house Business Intelligence Team was fully capable of handling all further development and ongoing maintenance. The combined forces allowed us to learn from each other, challenge concepts and decide on optimum solutions. Together we created not only a new set of dashboards, but also a cohesive data product with a contemporary and uniform aesthetic.