Adaptive Website Design Discussed at Mequoda Summit East 2011

How our adaptive website design process known as Framework1 is constantly evolving

Over the past seven years, we’ve continued to refine our adaptive website design process, which we refer to as Framework1. The launch of Bible History Daily may be the best example of it to date. I’d like to quickly say kudos to our team and the Biblical Archeology Society for the clear direction in the process.

Adaptive website design, for Mequoda, has two key attributes. First, we use a process called mentoring, where we analyze three sites that have features relevant to the client’s ideal site design.

Next, Framework1 incorporates Mequoda’s evolving set of best practices comprised from ongoing feedback from our Mequoda Gold Member clients. Framework1 represents the best of the best from these online publishing leaders who are excelling at email marketing, SEO and free report development.

In terms of time and manpower, adaptive website design is more efficient than the standard, from-scratch website design process. The adaptive approach allows a project like Bible History Daily to be complete in 500 hours vs. the 1,500-2,000 hours it might take if the system were built from scratch.

Some could argue that a from-scratch design yields a better website because of the vast amount of additional time spent researching features and functionality. However, adaptive website design actually results in the better, more usable and robust site because it leverages code base and best practices from previous websites created by like-minded publishers.

Framework1’s best practices

Framework1 stands on best practices developed through a decade of observing and documenting what works for response-driven publishing websites. When we’re building a new website, we first choose the most current, most applicable Mequoda Framework1 code base to start, and we then add in modules or iterations from other Framework1 systems that are relevant to the new website.

Next, we incorporate components from three mentor sites. When clients suggest mentor sites, we analyze the website’s traffic, the quality of the site’s content and we often run the sites through our Website Design Scorecard to be sure they aren’t violating any basic design rules. By asking the client for 3 mentor sites, plus the Framework1 site we deem the best fit, we are able to compare and contrast the consistent navigation, content display, conversion architecture, nameplate, footers, column widths and the content mix (color, typography, density, text, etc.) that will make up the visual aspect of the new website.

If the business processes of the mentor sites are different than those found in Framework1, we challenge them individually and assess whether they should be incorporated into Framework1.

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Why publishers should use Framework1

Adaptive website design can make it easier to take a legacy magazine website online. In our Adaptive Website Design session at the Mequoda Summit East 2011, we will walk you through the process we use four-six times per year to build robust, usable websites in a fraction of the time and cost than the from-scratch process typically takes.

If you’re working with another agency or in-house team, you can still use our adaptive website design process as a reference base for coding and best practices. We’ve seen companies like Interweave use it to launch what is now 10 communities, including hubs, forums and stores.

Differences throughout our 17 Framework1 Websites

If you were to closely analyze the 17 websites we’ve built using the Framework1 concept, you will find unique functionality from one system to the next. Older websites may not represent the newer functionality found on recent websites, but recent websites may also be void of functionality from older systems.  There could be two reasons for this: it could be a creation defect, or the client may have requested that functionality removed. In either case, it’s critical to understand the reasons behind the exclusion, so you don’t accidentally miss a key piece of functionality for your website.

Sometimes a client will insist on a particular way of doing something, be it a business process or functionality, that is not taken from a successful website. If a client insists even after we express the potential associated problems, we continue with the client’s request. While you won’t hear us talk about them publicly, some number of our websites have idiosyncratic functionality that you’d find unique to that website.

In order to avoid defects, we validate each best practice, which includes closely analyzing multiple websites; four is ideal, with at least one being a Framework1 site and the others being mentor sites.

It’s also worth noting that because websites get developed simultaneously by our team, the 17th system may not necessarily be based off the 16th. We usually have two or more website design projects in process at the same time.

Adaptive website design at the Mequoda Summit East 2011

Framework1, while coined by Mequoda as our collection of modules and code, is a business process that can be used by anyone. Adaptive website design can save time and money, and if you want to learn more about it from Mequoda staff who develop client systems, join us at the Mequoda Summit East 2011. Seats are filling up fast, so sign up now.

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