René Hedegaard Petersen | 04/07/2018
How is content-driven design achievable at scale?
What web design strategy do you prefer; a content-driven or a design-driven approach? These design silos are often opposites you have to choose from when deciding on your business strategy, but what if you could have both? Small Business (SMB) service providers need design solutions that make it fast, easy and affordable to build websites at great scale, while keeping the SMB’s website content at heart.
Content-driven or design-driven approach?
One of the most essential choices to make when designing websites is to decide whether the website should be built based on the content (text, images etc.), or based on a design. In essence, you have to choose between the chicken or the egg.
Choosing a content-driven approach to web design will produce highly unique and data-rich websites with content at heart, which is essential to building traffic, strengthen company branding and driving business online. To SMBs, this is therefore often the preferred approach although not always an affordable solution because it can be very time-consuming for both the SMB and their digital service provider.
Alternatively, choosing a design-driven approach allows digital service providers to prepare a website design prior to having seen or created content. This is most commonly applied via template based design. These designs can then be reused for a hundreds of websites to save production time and make websites affordable. This is a fast and cheap solution for all parties, but it minimizes the website’s uniqueness and can require time-consuming design adjustments once the content is in place. Consequently, this approach is often preferred by the service provider, but the SMB is left with a less attractive website with a static design.
In the ideal world, a website should be designed with the content in mind to get the brand uniqueness website owners seek, and built at the speed that only a design-driven process would allow. So, what is most important to focus on - the design or the content? The answer is both, but how is that possible?
Content-Design hybrid: How Mono seeks to solve the challenge
Mono takes a hybrid approach to satisfy the desire for highly customized websites based on structured content and the need to use templated designs in order to provision these sites efficiently, at scale. To do this, Mono recently launched a new generation of templates, allowing digital service providers to leverage the functional and unique benefits of content-driven design and the time-saving benefits from a design-driven approach. Where other templates are static, Mono’s template system gives SMB service providers an optimized starting point for designing highly customizable websites at scale.
Data and content at the core of web design
Efficiency-driving technology is at the foundation of all production in Mono, and the new template system is no exception.
The new templates are built on a strong technical foundation that structures website content and automatically marks it up for schema.org standards (JSON LD) in order to be able to seamlessly feed into Google, Facebook and other data platforms.
Mono’s templates also ensure that the website design is automatically adjusted to the data and content available. So for example, if a company logo is available, the website header will automatically be updated in all viewports to display the logo so it matches the look-and-feel of the chosen template style. An entire website can be built in just seconds based on available website content, as a set of predefined Template Rules dictate how the design should appear in all view ports down to the very last detail. When the content on the website changes, the design automatically changes with it. Using the new template technology is simply just a smarter way to work.
By leveraging the strong data foundation in Mono’s templates, it is possible to design websites that are essentially content and data-driven, despite using templates.
The future of website design will be data-driven
New data-driven website building technology has set new standards for scalable web design as the technology allows the incorporation of content as part of the overall design process. Digital service providers can now deliver customized websites for SMBs without starting from scratch while still meeting the SMBs’ needs for a website with strong digital presence and unique branding at an affordable price.
Templates are no longer a barrier for unique and content-focused web design. With the right data-driven technology, templates can be dynamic and efficient tools that allow digital service providers to easily build, design and manage SMB websites over time at a low production time. This enables them to empower SMBs with a strong professional online presence that can compete with the presence of bigger players in their market.