One of the biggest hurdles we simply couldn't get around was the lack of any clear, repeatable template. This was a huge challenge when trying to interpret the hierarchy into an identifiable, mapped user-journey.
Some of the lists are repeated annually which should give way to a well defined database structure. But there were subcategories which were bi-annual, or one offs, there were totally unique categories with different ratings criteria and a different number of entries.
There simply wasn't a common theme across all the articles, from Top 40 under 40s, to Top 100 most influential, every category acted in isolation, making any clear and definitive unified, consistent presentation nigh on impossible. There was no common ground based on chronology nor category. We hadn't even taken on the challenge of solving the user experience of the dead-end paywalls that are instigated when a non-subscriber is faced with paid content.
Any 'normal' online application would be comforted by the clarity a series of wireframes and user journey docs can provide. They can often illuminate dead ends, UX faux-pas and expected behavioural issues in advance of completed and finalised designs. But no amount of wireframing gave us the illumination we needed as each iteration introduced a new problem in either navigation or hierarchy.