Consider this: an automobile company is designing a revolutionary new car that it is sure people will love to drive. The seats will be amazingly comfortable, the steering wheel feels nice in your hands, the console displays information in an intuitive manner, the entertainment system features every possible option, and it looks beautiful from every angle. But while it’s a great car to sit in and look at, the designers forgot to consider the actual driving, including how well the engine runs and how the car handles itself on the road. They thought they had created a car everyone would want to drive, but in the end, they had to scramble to fix it under the hood in order to make it usable.
This scenario seems ridiculous; what car company would approach product design in such a backwards manner? Unfortunately, we’ve found that this approach is all too common in the world of web design and development. During a website redesign project, the focus is usually on the look and feel of the site within different contexts (mobile, desktop, etc.), but consideration of the actual technology behind the website is often left until the end of the project to figure out.
At Diagram, we believe that good website design is based on the combination of design and technology, and it’s important to consider all aspects of the site throughout the development process. Here are three reasons why it’s especially important not to wait until the end of a project to think about a website’s technology:
1. It can be a budget buster
Many modern websites utilize complex design elements, making use of available functionalities to create the best experience for their users. However, these designs can be complicated to develop within the CMS of your choosing. If you wait until the design of the site is completed and then hand it off to developers to implement in the CMS, this can drastically increase the cost and time of development.
If the design and development teams are working hand in hand, it is much more likely that a streamlined approach can be taken that will meet the aesthetic design requirements in addition to the CMS implementation needs. It’s important for the teams to work together to realize the design within the CMS. This approach will keep you on time and on budget, resulting in a site that fully utilizes the CMS technology to provide the best experience for your users.
2. It can result in an overly complicated editing experience
Today’s websites need to reach a variety of audiences using multiple devices and screen sizes, which means their design can become complicated. These complex designs can result in a complicated, non-intuitive editing experience within the CMS, making it difficult for content editors to keep the website updated. If the site’s design makes the job of the CMS editors harder, these design elements are more likely to remain static, since they are difficult to update.
You don’t want all of the hard work of your design to remain unused, and you don’t want to lose the advantage that a CMS provides you, so it’s important to make sure the site’s design is manageable from the perspective of a content editor. That’s why the design team needs to work closely with the CMS developers, not only to implement the design within the CMS, but also to make sure it is usable. This will ensure that the newly designed site not only meets the needs of its users and editors, but that it will remain functional in the future.
3. Nobody knows where the site will live
One of the largest hurdles that companies face in launching a redesigned website comes from not understanding the chosen CMS and what technologies are required to host the site. Whether you are hosting internally in your own data center or externally via a hosting provider, it’s important to understand the specific technology stack required for your CMS, and make sure that it is supported.
For example, if you are using Drupal or WordPress, these CMSs require a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack, but your own IT department may not support Linux. If you use Ektron or EPiServer, you are required to use a Microsoft stack (which uses ASP.net and MSSQL), but an external hosting company may not support Microsoft servers. You need to be aware of the requirements of your chosen CMS and make sure that you will be able to provide the correct hosting environment. Waiting until the end of your project to figure out how and where the site will be hosted is one of the most common reasons for a delayed site launch.
At Diagram, we combine design, development, and hosting expertise throughout the entire design process to ensure that all aspects of a site are covered. You can rest assured that we will consider all these aspects and more to keep a project from being delayed or going over budget. Do you have any questions for us on how to consider technological requirements throughout the entire design process? Do you want to know more about how our design, development, and hosting teams can work with you to create and implement a site redesign that meets your business goals and provides the best ROI? Please contact us to speak to a website design expert, or feel free to leave a comment below.
Photo Credit: Moyan_Brenn