Summly was an application devised by Nick D’Aloisio in 2011, created to summarise text sources such as news and blogs. Working for Somo, I was part of the production team brought in to extend Nick’s work. My colleagues developed an iOS app, while I worked as front end development on the web interface and promotional site.
To show off Summly’s technology, we developed a web interface, for people to try and download the app. In order to provide a responsive interface that reflected the app, we based it on a stack of cards with images and stories.
The technology behind Summly would scrape images from news stories, along with summarising the text of the story. Our interface then presented them in animated cards, giving users the ability to navigate the stick by clicking on the next card. The site presented a limited amount of stories, to give users a taste, and then encouraged them to download the app for more.
The marketing team then put together a campaign to help promote the app further, including a promotional website. I worked in the front end development on this, taking designs and assets, and creating a desktop interface. The site included a front splash page, encouraging downloads and a promotional video with Stephen Fry. Subsequent pages provided further information on the technology, and encouraged engagement from publishers and partners.
We also produced a simplistic web interface for mobile, which also mimicked the function of the application.
Summly was bought a few years after production by Yahoo for a reported $30m.
Having worked on the production, I’m proud to have been part of such a prestigious product. I gained much insight into production processes for high end promotional campaigns, understanding the need for high quality, robust code with quick turnaround.