When we work with clients to develop a new site or redesign an existing online environment, we identify and develop what we refer to as the ‘core system’ of the website. This allows us to accomplish three key things.
- We are able to focus our UX expertise tackling the most complex processes and information displays
- We define key functionality that can be tested to validate our overall site approach
- We establish key patterns and functionality that will be implemented throughout the rest of the site
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Designing every page of a site can eat up a lot of time and budget.
We’re better off designing and validating the core system and then providing the building blocks to help our clients build and maintain the full site in their content management system.
Focus UX Expertise on Complexity
When you hire a consultant, you probably have a tough problem you’re trying to solve. In our work, we’re often asked to figure out the best way to present complex details and information and support someone through the process of understanding those details and making an informed choice. We provide the most value when we focus our efforts on the complex interactions that the site will need to handle.
When we focus on the most complex interactions, we develop design elements and patterns that can be extended to build out the less complex components of the site that may not be included in the core system.
We make the best use of our client’s budget when we’re able to focus on solving the difficult usability problems.
Validate the Approach
When we design a site, usability testing is a critical step in our process. A usability test validates that our proposed design is working as expected. The core system makes up the screens that we use in our usability test.
Beyond the most complex interactions and information, we identify any additional key tasks that we want to be sure to test before the site is implemented. We include these screens in our core system and then we can validate that the system we designed is working as expected.
Set the Stage for Implementation and Maintenance
When we document and develop the core system, we design the majority of the patterns and templates that will be used to create the remaining site pages. As our clients start to build out the full site in their content management system, they have the toolbox of templates and patterns to apply to the remaining site pages and interactions that we didn’t detail in our core system design and prototype.
As clients maintain their site over time, the toolbox of templates and patterns can be used to accommodate new site pages when the need arises.
Of course, we’re always available to collaborate with our clients during implementation and maintenance to figure out a new pattern or help determine the best way to present a new piece of content. Using the core system that we’ve developed, clients can often identify a solution themselves and only need to engage us again if they have an issue that the current system doesn’t address. This saves our clients both time and budget.
What is the core of your system? Contact us and let’s figure it out together.
By Rebecca Grazzini
Senior User Experience Specialist
Rebecca has worked on user experiences in a variety of industries including online education, health care, financial services, tourism, energy, and agriculture. She has spent much of her career developing complex transactional experiences under strict regulatory constraints.View Rebecca's Bio