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Keeping our finger on the Pulse: MNA Case Study

In 2021 PCS launched the reimagined version of Pulse. This solution is our advert creation and production software used by publishers across the UK. We decided to bring Pulse up to speed by enhancing its features to ensure a better user experience. We also wanted to create a version that was more modern and future-proof. The changes that took place are within this case study with quotes from Steve Mills, Ad Creation Manager at MNA Media.

But why did we change pulse?

With Adobe Flash Player coming to an end in 2020, we knew we had to move Pulse to a new platform, so we went with a total rebuild – from the ground up. The original version of Pulse was written over 20 years ago and created for the Apple Mac platform. Ten years ago, we changed to Flash Player to facilitate a transition to the Windows platform. However, a lot of the Apple limitations still existed, and these started to become a hindrance to the workflow at the MNA Ad-Creation hub.

Even though the old Pulse system was a much-liked product, it was very dated (from a user experience perspective), with lots of unnecessary steps and screens to navigate, and lacked an efficient digital workflow. It wasn’t accessible on mobile, and as part of our current initiative, we wanted to ensure our apps were responsive enough to be accessed on phones and tablets to support hybrid working.

What did MNA media need from the system that wasn’t in the original version?

What approach did we take to creating Pulse 2.0?

Firstly, we created a team who could bring their previous experience and knowledge to the table. So, we rounded up a PCS product specialist, an MNA Media consultant, four developers, and one UI designer to create the best team possible for this project.

We had several deep-dive sessions with the MNA consultant to identify inefficiencies within the production department due to current software limitations. For us, this was a real eye-opening experience and helped us develop a better version to provide ways to overcome these problems.

We spent with the UI/UX designer and product specialist and re-designed the user workflow and user interface. We wanted to ensure it was going to be simplified, user-friendly, and an all-around easily accessible system – we wanted to bring Pulse up to modern standards.

We had regular releases and quality assessment cycles to iron out any issues. In doing so, it allowed for a few refinements before the software was finalised. At this stage, the software was ready for user acceptance testing.

What new features were implemented within the new and improved version?

Steve Mills, ad creation manager at MNA media says:

“The new version of Pulse is dynamic and user friendly – we can quickly and easily see a customer’s account, which includes all the adverts they have run in the past. In ad creation we have three queues – Print has the biggest volume of advertisements assigned, Creative is for when someone needs a fresh creative design, and then Digital for the digital adverts we make up. Our users are assigned based on their specific skill sets, so some are assigned to all queues - Print, Creative and Digital and some just to one or two. Jobs are then allocated to anyone who is available in the specific queue – ensuring no downtime. With the older version of Pulse, jobs would go into a queue, and it was up to someone in the ad creation team to grab a job. Now jobs are allocated automatically, and we find that this makes the system much more efficient – it’s clean and ensures the Designer has all the assets and instructions ready to create the job."

Steve Mills of MNA Media

“Also, the system is graphically more user friendly and very visual – assets can be uploaded quickly, and clients can view proofs of adverts from their phone. Clients or advertising staff can approve an advert, and this automatically passes the artwork to the Planning system. It is easy for people to send amendments back to us, with just one click new instructions can be generated which come straight through to our Booking in Dashboard. For efficiency and user-friendliness, the new version of Pulse is brilliant and has changed the way we work at the MNA.”

To find out more about Pulse or our suite of software solutions click here. Alternatively, you can contact us via email hello@pcs-publishing.com or call 01902 37 47 57.

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