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Custom Design is Dead, Long Live Customization

October 22, 2014
By Team Hello

Building a website from scratch typically involves a lot more baggage than most people expect.

It’s frustrating to deal with, creates more work and more expense for everyone involved, and wastes time. Who wants any of that?

Think about it. You’ve got a website, it’s been around for a while. It’s served you well for a couple of years, but it’s time for changes. You no longer have a relationship with the designer, so you employ a new one…

Only to find that the site’s impossible – or at the least intensely challenging – to modify, none of its core functions can be edited thanks to proprietary software, and converting to a new system (probably a newer, slightly shinier proprietary system recommended by your new designer) will take a lot of time and investment.

What a chore. At this point, the best option really is to start fresh with accessible standards, using open platforms like WordPress, Drupal, or even Joomla. Any of these can be customized fully enough that they’ll represent you the way you need them to – but without the pitfalls of closed systems or from-scratch development.

How far can customization really go? What kinds of problems does it avoid?

Customization prevents many of the traditional problems of fully custom web design – that is, building a site from scratch – in a number of ways;

  • Frameworks are typically well-documented. This reduces the amount of work that needs to be done for a desired visual or functional outcome, as well as ensuring that any future changes can be made easily.
  • They allow more effort to be put into a website’s functions and features. Whether that means information architecture, contact forms, ecommerce systems, or account functions, putting these elements of a website front and center ensures they’ll work – which is the website’s job in the first place.
  • Frameworks build on accepted norms for design. This matters because it’s a service to your visitors. By giving them what they expect – like navigation elements, easy to distinguish calls to action and more – you’re reinforcing the focus you wanted on the site’s functions.

Just a friendly reminder; these sites are not “templates” – not the way you’re used to.

We’ve all seen them; overly-generic websites with so little effort put in to arranging the information on them, or making them a little more appealing than they are, that they leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Websites built on customized frameworks are not these websites. We’ve worked with some website generators – there are a lot out there, and they can do some pretty neat things these days, but they only go so far.

Customization of well-documented frameworks places the focus right on what’s important for any business; completing and launching the website efficiently.

One of the best reasons to build on widely-known platforms is speed of deployment. Rather than getting bogged down by either from-scratch design, or from-scratch development, using frameworks strips out unnecessary repeat effort, and lets you get your business working properly on the web as quickly as possible.

If you’ve had a bad experience with custom web design, or want more information about moving from a closed site to open frameworks, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below, or get in touch with us through our contact page.

Custom Design Is Dead, Long Live Customization 1
Source: Hello BLOG