‘Points of Interest’: The Times’ New CMS Feature Powering a Slew of Handy SoCal Guides
The Los Angeles Times has developed a new feature in its content management system that helps make its websites and coverage more useful to readers. Dubbed “Points of Interest” by the digital product team of engineers, developers and designers who built it in collaboration with the newsroom, it appears to readers as user-friendly guides and maps on latimes.com, such as the 50 best hikes in L.A. and all of the Mexican restaurants on The Times annual 101 list
The Points of Interest framework in GrapheneCMS, the content management system that powers The Times’ websites, allows the newsroom to build databases of places which they can then use to create curated lists for readers with accompanying interactive maps.
“We know that readers like lists, and in a place like Los Angeles, which is so spread out, the location of a place is really important to people,” said James Tyner, the product manager who spearheaded the initiative at The Times. Tyner began the early stages of the project as a creative technology intern in 2019 while working on the best burgers list, an augmented reality project that allowed readers to view the city’s tastiest burgers in 3D and find out where they could get the burgers via a searchable map.
“Our team is really looking at ways we can help our writers better tell stories, while also building products that can be reused in many different ways,” said Royce Martin, vice president of product for The Times.
Earlier this year when the Food team decided to create a guide to help connect hungry Angelenos to a variety of takeout spots during the pandemic, Tyner said he continued to hone the Points of Interest feature and make it available to both The Times and San Diego Union-Tribune newsrooms. “We’re happy to report that it’s getting a lot of use,” he said.
The feature has been used to create a variety of lists and guides, including the ultimate Los Angeles restaurant delivery and takeout guide, the best hikes in SoCal, the best hiking trails for dogs, the best things to do outside in California and LGBTQ landmarks in L.A.