Superior site structures

I learned a great deal working at UEA, prior to joining MADE, particularly about maintaining websites with both a large number of pages and a large number of devolved editors.

With almost all content management systems, and programming languages, there are many different methods that could be employed to produce a particular function or feature on a page. The choice as to which method to employ often comes down to a combination of personal preference and efficiency. The ramifications of these decisions are often not tangible until long into the future.

Having made decisions about the different ways to create content many times at UEA and been there to see the ramifications of these decisions a year or two later, I’ve developed a keen perspective on this. In essence, it comes down to two things:

– Getting the balance right between keeping content structured and enabling the flexibility for users to change the site. On one hand sites should be in a structured way that editors can create content without needing HTML knowledge, content can be re-used and displayed in different views. On the other hand, if these structures are too prescriptive, when requirements change slightly in a month or too, the structures are no longer fit for purpose.

– Building sites in a modular way. The urgent need to get a new feature live can come at the cost of the future extensibility and maintainability of a site. Its important to always take the time to develop new features in a modular way, with an eye to how they may be further developed in the future, or how other features may use the same elements.