Lithys 2017: Sky- Digital Design Excellence

Lithys 2017: Sky- Digital Design Excellence

At Sky we ‘Believe in Better’. In the UK, we are part of everyday life for over 10 million customers and we work hard to meet customer needs, provide exceptional customer service and earn their trust.



Company:  Sky UKlogo_sky.png

Entry submitted by: John Lewis (Channel Development Manager)

Community:  Sky Community

Lithy category: Digital Design Excellence



Sky is Europe’s leading entertainment company. The group serves 22 million customers across five countries: Italy, Germany, Austria, the UK and Ireland. We offer the best and broadest range of content, deliver market-leading customer service and use innovative new technology to give customers a better TV experience, whenever and wherever they choose.


At Sky we ‘Believe in Better’. In the UK, we are part of everyday life for over 10 million customers and we work hard to meet customer needs, provide exceptional customer service and earn their trust.


Our ‘Digital First’ vision and strategy is critical to our success. Customer preferences are changing, with more than one-third of our customer service interactions in the UK now being made via digital and social channels.


We continue to invest heavily in improving our digital and social channels. Our strategic goal is to design and develop best in-class digital and self-service capabilities for our customers that are engaging, flexible, fast and easy to use.


The Sky Community is a critical part of our digital eco-system. The Sky Community is where we engage and work together with our customers to make Sky even better. Our community mission is to create a fun, engaging and collaborative environment where customers can connect, discuss and feedback on Sky's products, services and content.


In order to fully realize this vision, it was clear that we had to both transform and optimize the end user experience for our users across all device types.


We undertook the ambitious task of rebuilding the UI/UX from the ground up with the aim of increasing engagement with our users, improving user navigation, optimizing the end user experience and creating design that reflected the brand whilst having its own unique identity.


Not everyone can be fluent with technology, so using a forum can be daunting to new members. In order to combat this, we’ve added ‘Getting Started’ to the homepage—a new onboarding component that acts as a mini-tutorial on how to use the community. New members are prompted to complete a series of everyday tasks that will fully integrate them into the platform.




Once completed, this component then becomes ‘Welcome back’, an activity feed that presents all replies, kudos, mentions and private messages to the member when they log in. This, effectively shows ‘signs of life’ to the member—something that would have been difficult to discern in our previous community.




 We’ve also added a ‘proficiency’ level indicator into the member profile cards to allow super-users and community managers to see how adept members are with our products and allow them to change the language which they use to engage them accordingly.sky_003.png


 With the Sky Community being so big, moderation and keeping track of member behaviour was, sometimes, beyond the capacity of the platform. We would continually hit the limit for admin notes and have to store this in shared Word docs.sky_004.png


To combat this, we created an Admin notes component from the ground up. By attaching this to a hidden private board, we can now make notes on members with the full functionality of the forum (including text and imagery) and tag members that may have also been involved or targeted—which will also appear on their profiles.sky_005.png


We’ve also given the community a complete aesthetic facelift that mirrors Sky’s cutting edge digital brand, improved user navigation and have created a simpler & more content rich experience for our users.sky_006.png

 And with this now being responsive, this is now available, for everyone, across all devices.sky_007.png


 In order to establish what the requirements were for our design we held numerous workshops with our community management team. This allowed us to analyze current performance metrics and identify how we could best optimize the core experience for our users.



Using an Internal, ‘blackjack’, SDK—we were able to emulate the UI & visual aesthetic of the rest of our digital estate, including but to optimize and shape this for a community platform.

We opted to utilize the Lithium SDK, rather than Studio, to conduct all development on the platform. This allowed both members of our development team to work on the code simultaneously, while seeing all changes in real time. This, effectively, saved us weeks of development time and allowed us to spend more time working on the platform—rather than waiting on the platform to compile.


All of this was project managed using JIRA & Agile methodologies. These allowed us to split development into 2 week sprints and have clear objectives and expected results for each sprint and identify any bottlenecks or problem areas that may arise. We would also conduct demo sessions to our stakeholders of all the changes made on a fortnightly basis to keep everyone up to speed on the development process.


We worked with Lithium Professional Services to assist us with the development of bespoke components and to help with go live activities.


Our Super-users (Oracles) were also an important part of the development & launch processes. By giving these users access to our staging environment, they were able to get early access and perform usability testing on the new design before it went live. This gave us valuable feedback on the experience and aesthetics.


Following the launch of our responsive redesign, we have been receiving feedback from both our community users and employees telling us how much they love our new design.


It has also been encouraging to see the positive impact of the new design on our key community KPI’s:



  • Member time online has increased by 10%
  • Average weekly unique visitors have increased by 19%
  • Registration growth rate is at 36% since launch of the redesign
  • Replies growth rate is 9% since launch of the redesign
  • % of solution views from mobile has increased by 4% to 55%
  • Kudos ratio has increased by 39%
  • Contribution ratio has increased by 15%
  • Join ratio has increased by 77%
  • Traffic to category pages has increased by 324%


  • Visits to blogs have increased by +355%
  • Kudos has increased by +120%
  • Comments on blogs have increased by +60%

Well done to the team. Great work. 

Great to see this out there!


Great work by the team! 🙂

A well deserved nomination!