If your nonprofit is thinking about building a new website, the first major milestone is determining if it’s the right time for your organization to embark on this project. We outlined the best way to make that decision here. If the answer is yes, another big decision you’re going to make early on is the design approach you want for your site. You won’t be doing this alone. Our project managers start with thorough discovery to identify your needs, goals, and audiences, and all that information is what helps us work with you to determine the right design approach. For some of our clients, the answer is modular design.
What Does Modular Mean?
Think of an À la carte menu at a restaurant. You see everything there is to choose from and you pick any number of items to create the perfect meal. A modular website works in a similar way. Our team helps you identify the modules (content types) you need, and our designer creates your visual menu of items. A few examples of these modules are text boxes, pull quotes, images, or buttons.
Creating The Modules
Your developer (that’s me!) builds a few templates, one for your homepage and others for different interior pages like blog posts, press releases, and programs. I take the unique modules and design styles for each and bring them to life, putting in place all the elements a site manager needs to create pages. When you’re ready to create a page of your site it’s as simple as choosing the right template and then “ordering” from your menu of content options.
Another feature of modular design is that the backend code is simpler – or “cleaner” – as we developers like to say. Clean code just means that it’s easier to understand and this makes it easier to edit. Rather than one huge blob of code for a page template, each module is saved as its own snippet, so things are nice and tidy. As the engineer of your site, I would be able to tweak your templates or add new content modules quickly. And if your nonprofit has a website manager on staff, the code is easy to read if they want to make changes on their own.
I like to think of clean code the way I think of packing for a vacation. If I pack light, my suitcase won’t slow me down and I can find what I’m looking for more easily. The same is true for your website. If your code is simpler, your page load speeds will likely be faster. And because keywords aren’t buried in complicated code, bots can find them more easily meaning you may see higher rankings on search engines.
(It’s worth noting that clean code is our goal and approach no matter what type of website we’re building. We bring it up here simply because it means that you don’t have to be a developer to make edits or additions to a modular site).
Is It Right For You?
Modular design is only one approach to building a website. Our goal at Firefly is to tailor every site we build to each organization. No matter what direction we choose, the outcome is the same: a website that looks great and puts the organization on a path of success. We produce websites that are easy to manage, and we continue to be available for support after launch. If you’re curious about how modular website design could work for your organization, get in touch with us today.