Sean Dillingham

Outpost CMS

Reimagining KPCC's publishing system for the needs of a modern newsroom
My Role
Product Design

At KPCC, we see the CMS as “the box of all that’s possible.” It’s also the tool that our reporters and editors spends their entire day in, so we built our publishing platform from the ground up, tailored to their specific needs.

In an industry where most newsrooms hate their CMS, we’re proud of the fact that KPCC’s editorial staff find Outpost a pleasure to use. And while Outpost did a good job supporting the daily publishing needs of KPCC’s growing newsroom, we were missing opportunities to delight users, automate repetitive tasks, and free up journalists to do more important work.

The Redesign

Minimize distractions and guiding writers toward creating better content
The new Outpost UI strives to bring structure and clarity to the content authoring experience. A clear and direct authoring flow allows reporters to move quickly from blank canvas to published article. Typography and interface contrast were carefully considered to improve legibility, reduce fatigue and allow users to focus on discreet task areas.
Article Editor

The newsroom doesn’t stop caring about their stories after they hit the publish button.

A new notifications view points reporters and editors to items that require their attention and keeps them up to date as others make changes to their stories.

In-App Notifications
Outpost notifications view

Outpost’s previous WYSIWYG editor didn’t guide users to create well-structured content. Producers often embeded complex JavaScript or iFrames, resulting in brittle or broken content.

Outpost’s new highly structured inline editor is there when you need it, and gets out of the way when you’re typing.

Elegant Text Editing

KPCC conducts too much of its editorial workflow over email. As a result, important discussions about stories, sources and status updates are all lost in the inbox.

To bring communication closer to the content, I designed an editorial-focused commenting system integrated into Outpost, adding the ability to associate a comment with a specific part of a story.

Collaboration & Comments
Outpost comments feature

Contentbot is an always-present robot editor in Outpost, reviewing content every time it’s saved and auditing changes against KPCC’s editorial style guide.

As it finds mistakes or style violations, it flags them and suggests improvements, reducing the burden on editors.

By integrating with Outpost’s commenting feature, Contentbot behaves like any other user in the system, humanizing the process of automated content review.

Automated Content Review
Outpost contentbot feature

More Work


Places I've worked
2016 - Present

Signal Sciences

I'm currently Head of Product Design at Signal Sciences. We help companies defend their applications and data against hackers and attacks, protecting over 1.5 trillion requests each month.
As Director of UX for American Public Media and KPCC, I led design and engineering. I helped define product strategy, designed all our platform products, and shipped award winning editorial projects.

Case Studies

Selected work
Mobile App

KPCC for iPhone

KPCC, the second largest public radio station in the U.S., earned a loyal audience of 700,000 weekly radio listeners. In 2014, I designed their new iOS app to help them garner an equally devoted smartphone audience.
I designed KPCC’s publishing platform to bring structure and clarity to the content authoring experience. Clear, powerful authoring flows allow reporters to move quickly from blank canvas to published article.

© 2020