The secret third way to build a website
When it comes to building websites, there are two general approaches. The first is to use a ready-to-go template, which allows anyone - regardless of skill level - to edit imagery, colours and copy to suit their business. Think Squarespace or Wix. The beauty of templated websites is in their easy admin experience - no developers required to make basic changes or updates. The downside? They have very limited functionality, and they look the same as every other website out there.
On the other end of the spectrum is a fully customized website. These are built bespoke to meet the unique goals of a business, and allow the brand to shine through completely custom design. The downside here is upfront cost and time, plus the development skills required to make changes later down the line.
However, there is a third option - a custom website built with reusable design ‘components’ which can then be assembled by anyone like lego to create new content without any development skills. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately it’s easier said than done - but we found a way to nail it.
Yyoga’s nationwide expansion
When Yyoga, Canada’s largest yoga studio brand, approached us with their unique challenges, we knew a templated option was out of the question. With nationwide expansion planned for the future, they didn’t need a static brochure but a dynamic, malleable website which could scale with their business.
For example, they needed the ability to spin up new landing pages for promotions, new products, services, or even innovative tests in certain markets. Each of these pages would need to help customers achieve their goals differently - which meant a different design and user experience for each. Rather than leaning on us to build a new landing page for them each time, they wanted the ability for their marketing department to do it themselves. Here’s how we did it.
Craft + Components = Magic
Understanding the future goals of Yyoga before we rebuilt their entire website meant that we approached it differently from the get-go. After a thorough discovery process, we were able to clearly articulate what the new website needed to get done. Our UX team wrote extensive user stories to help the team understand every layer of complexity, then manage to capture that complexity in a laundry list of reusable components. We’re talking text blocks, headings, images, quotes, forms, different alignment options, and more that would be used throughout the entire site for a consistent (yet beautiful) user experience.
Our development team then built these components separate to the actual pages they were working on using our preferred CMS system, Craft. Craft allowed us to map blocks of code to each component we designed, then assemble them using the Craft ‘field matrix’ by simply clicking “Add Block’. The marketing department could log in to Craft, create a new page which inherited the global elements of the site (header, footer, colours and fonts) then simply drag and drop components to make the page they needed in just a few minutes. From there, they could add the page to the navigation bar or keep it hidden for specific advertising campaigns - no friction, no hassle.
The result was an extremely powerful landing page builder which allowed Yyoga to create their own experiences without breaking the integrity of the overall design. This rapid deployment lets Yyoga test and learn at break-neck speed, then react to the market almost instantly. It may not sound like it, but that’s magic in the world of marketing.