There are plenty of similarities between WordPress and Drupal. That can make it particularly hard to choose between the two if you’re tasked with finding a new content management system (CMS) for your business. But when you’re about to invest in a new CMS, it’s an important decision that needs careful consideration.
After all, your CMS will be the platform upon which your website is built, and the influence that will have on your business growth and success today shouldn’t be underestimated. With that in mind, it’s crucial to find a platform that aligns with your specific requirements and enables you to achieve your strategic objectives.
To help you gain a clear understanding of the differences between WordPress and Drupal, and decide which one is better suited to your business, we’ve provided this helpful side-by-side assessment.
This article is part of a new series where we’ve explored direct, objective comparisons between some of the leading options for CMSs. In the third article of this series, we’re looking at Drupal and WordPress. You can find links to the other articles in this series at the bottom of the page.
Approachability and Ease-of-Use
A CMS is a big investment, and so you’ll want to begin getting good use and value from your platform of choice as quickly as possible. Like any type of software, though, some platforms are more approachable for the average user, while others will require you to have some previous experience to get going.
How Approachable is Drupal?
Drupal is aimed at users with some prior coding skills or content management experience. If you have technical skills at your disposal, Drupal can provide great functionality once you’ve put some time and effort into setting everything up.
For non-technical users, however, working with the platform and getting comfortable using it can be a long-term process. It’s an advanced CMS that doesn’t offer much in the way of straightforward usability “out-of-the-box” unfortunately. If your team is made up of non-technical users and beginners, this might not be the best platform for you.
Even if you work with a web development agency to help you get everything set up and tailored to your preferences, the complexity of the code will make their project timelines and costs higher than the average CMS.
How Approachable is WordPress?
WordPress is very approachable for anyone, even beginners without any previous experience using a CMS.
Simplicity is one of WordPress’s greatest strengths, and many would argue that elevates it above all its peers.
This usability allows you to get up-to-speed immediately with a very fast time-to-market for your site. That means you’ll begin to achieve a positive return on investment (ROI) much quicker than most other platforms. Almost everything you need to build and manage your website will be readily available when you first begin using WordPress, making it more approachable for the average user than Drupal.
As it’s such an intuitive platform, pretty much anyone in your team will be able to use WordPress. That will make it easier to handle the daily management and running of your site as a shared responsibility.
Functionality and Customisation
As touched on above, you should be looking for a platform that you and your colleagues will be comfortable using on a daily basis. If you don’t like the way a CMS functions, you should remove it from your shortlist of options.
While Drupal and WordPress are similar at first glance, with the same fundamental functionality of a CMS, there are some unique features and capabilities that differentiate them. There’s also a wide range of ways to customise them to your own liking.
Working with Drupal
While the complexity mentioned in the previous section does require considerable time, effort, and money to get past, once you’ve got there you’ll likely find Drupal is a good CMS to use for building and editing your website.
Drupal’s user interface (UI) is fairly easy to get used to. You can publish, edit, manage, and organise content with flexibility, adjusting your page structure and site navigation. You can also lean on a large library of website themes and modules, which are additions similar to WordPress’s plugins, to tailor your CMS to your own unique specifications.
Working with WordPress
As a CMS, WordPress’s simple, intuitive functionality allows you to seamlessly launch and manage your site. It’s very convenient editing content on a page-by-page basis with WordPress with its block-based design. This allows you to create quality content from day one, with the freedom and flexibility to make adjustments to the platform as and when you require.
WordPress also allows you to customise it as well with a vast selection of plugins and themes. The difference between WordPress and other CMSs, though, is that there’s not much you’ll need to change about it out-of-the-box before you can begin using it comfortably.
Because it has a lower cost and faster time-to-market, it will free up more time for you (or your agency) to focus on higher value work, like differentiating your site from competitors or developing personalised content for your customers.
When writing down the criteria that you’ll use to select your CMS, security should be one of the first things on that list. Threats to cyber security and data protection are increasing by the day, for businesses of all sizes across all sectors, so it’s crucial to ensure you select a secure, trustworthy platform.
How Secure is Drupal?
One of the major advantages of a CMS that’s aimed at those with web development skills is that the users of Drupal work hard to ensure the platform is highly secure. Drupal regularly receives security updates and additional reinforcements to protect the platform.
Of course, you still need to test thoroughly and continuously double-check there are no vulnerabilities in your system. This is usually the responsibility of your agency, and a good partner should always prioritise security at the core of any development project.
How Secure is WordPress?
WordPress is a secure platform, but some still carry the misconception that it isn’t suitable for large businesses. To find evidence of its enterprise-grade security, though, you only need to look at the number of organisations using WordPress as their CMS of choice today.
Still, there are some potential vulnerabilities that are important to be aware of. For instance, be careful when adding plugins to your WordPress platform. As WordPress runs on open-source software, some developers will inevitably release plugins that aren’t secure, so you should only use plugins from reputable sources.
When you do use plugins, you’ll also need to test them thoroughly and keep them updated, and ideally have them working alongside security-specific plugins such as WordFence. These are issues that a good agency partner should be well aware of and handle for you.
Security is also influenced by the hosting environment of your platform. You can reduce your security risks further with WordPress if you find a trustworthy, well-managed hosting partner to look after your system.
The Global Communities
An active community of developers is a valuable asset for a CMS to have. This is a selection of dedicated users who work hard to contribute to growing and improving the platform, either by releasing new updates and plugins or fixing bugs in the software’s code.
For businesses like yours, the community could make the difference between having a small issue resolved quickly or growing into a big problem. Communities also provide resources to learn more about the technology, to further develop the digital offering you provide to your customers.
Drupal has a fairly niche, but very passionate developer community supporting it. The size of Drupal’s community is considerably smaller than more popular platforms like WordPress, mainly because of that higher degree of coding skill required to use the CMS easily.
However, that doesn’t detract from the level of support or added value you’ll receive if you do opt for Drupal. New themes, modules, and updates are often released to contribute to the quality of websites that can be built on the platform.
Most of what’s been discussed as strengths of WordPress in this article can be put down to the hard work of the community adding to the software.
WordPress’s community is truly global, with millions of users regularly producing innovative new themes and plugins that your business can pick up and begin using with ease.
No matter what issues you run into with your WordPress site, there will always be help readily available from the community.
WordPress users are renowned for their events as well, with free meet-ups and conferences often held to help users learn more about the technology. WordCamp, for example, is a non-profit event that has been run by the WordPress community since 2006 across several continents. WordPress also hosts an annual event called WordPress accessibility day, designed to help increase awareness of the importance of accessibility in modern technology.
The Cost and TCO
Another important aspect of your evaluation will be the cost of your CMS, and its long-term total cost of ownership (TCO).
The platform you choose will need to deliver good value for money and a strong ROI. How easily you can achieve these will vary depending on the CMS and how well it aligns with your business’s requirements.
Drupal’s Up-Front Investment and Ongoing Costs
Drupal is an open-source platform, which means it’s free to use. In most cases, Drupal is a good option in terms of value when compared to other CMSs.
You’ll only need to worry about costs like agency fees for development, your platform hosting, and post-deployment testing and maintenance.
However, the aforementioned complexity of Drupal often causes agency work to be more costly and time-consuming than it would be when working with platforms like WordPress. From basic set up and development to customisation, it’s possible your TCO will continue to grow over the years the longer you’re working with Drupal.
WordPress’s Low Cost and TCO
WordPress, on the other hand, is a very cost-effective solution with a much lower TCO than with Drupal.
It’s another open-source platform with no license fees, and you’ll rarely need to add on new features or capabilities because it comes with so much “out-of-the-box” already.
WordPress development is more simple and affordable, as are its maintenance and support. As mentioned earlier, the fast time-to-market helps you get a high quality website launched quickly so you can begin seeing ROI almost immediately.
Understanding the Role of an Agency
The role of an agency has been mentioned several times throughout this article. That’s because most businesses with a great website will have worked with an agency partner with platform-specific skills to help them bring their vision to life.
An agency can support you with hosting, design, development, maintenance, security, and updates, each of which can be highly complex and challenging to handle alone.
Therefore, it becomes even more important to consider how easy your CMS is to work with, not just for you and your team but for your development agency as well.
With a platform like Drupal, that has a reputation for being difficult and time-consuming to work with, agency projects are likely to be quite a big investment, and an ongoing one at that. WordPress is a platform that’s far easier to work with, meaning that the cost of releasing a quality, secure website will be much more affordable.
A CMS becomes far easier to use when you find an agency with the experience and expertise to help you gain as much value from the technology as possible. Whichever platform you choose, you’ll find it easier to achieve positive ROI if you have a specialist partner supporting you.
Deciding Between Drupal and WordPress
Both WordPress and Drupal are perfectly good options for most businesses looking for a new CMS. While there are strengths and weaknesses to consider, the most important thing is to keep your business’s specific needs in mind.
Make sure you’re clear on your strategic objectives, unique requirements, users, budget, and other factors to inform your decision. Once you’ve done that, use the comparisons in this article to see how each CMS lines up against what you’re looking for. It should then become evident which platform is more suitable for you.
If you need more help in your evaluation of the various CMS options:
- Read our comparison between Sitecore and WordPress here.
- Read our comparison between Umbraco and WordPress here.
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- Brainstorming and ideation
- Assistance in research and information-gathering
- Writing copy
- Writing code
- Image and video creation
- Data analysis
- Automating manual processes.
- GPT-4 was released as an upgrade to Chat GPT. GPT-4 can understand images, process 25,000 words in one go, earn a top 10% score on complex exams, and even demonstrate some advanced reasoning capabilities.
- Adobe released Firefly, which is a programme with a range of new generative AI features. It can create outstanding new content using simple language, with almost-unlimited creative options like turning 3D compositions into photorealistic images and automating advanced video editing processes.
- GitHub launched CoPilotX, which can supposedly boost coding speed by up to 55%. CoPilotX has similar features to Chat GPT, but will be used by software engineers and developers to boost productivity and time-to-market.
- And, just last week, Stability AI released its Stable Diffusion XL model, offering photorealism through an intricate editing interface. It’s reportedly built with around 2.3 billion parameters.
- A bespoke website that differentiates you from your competitors
- An online portal, either for training internal users or providing a more engaging experience for your clients
- A new platform that can better integrate with your legacy systems
- A new content management system (CMS) that can provide greater flexibility and scalability
- A way to transform time-consuming, inefficient manual processes into a unique, easy-to-use digital tool.
- Proven financial services sector experience and success
- A strong track record with complex bespoke development projects
- A long-term partner who can advise and guide you to make the correct decisions
- Certifications and accreditations
- Compliance with financial services industry regulations
- Secure hosting, with back-up, disaster recovery, and risk mitigation plans
- Security built into the core of every project
- Automated monitoring, maintenance, and support services
- Ongoing updates and optimisation for your platform
- Training and learning to help you gain maximum value from your investment.
- Improving your internal UX, creating greater operational efficiency
- Improving your external UX, providing more convenient, intuitive services to customers
- Streamlining mission-critical processes to reduce costs
- Building enterprise-grade security into the core of your systems
- Enabling real-time interactions with data
- Increasing customer retention and loyalty
- Achieving competitive differentiation
- Accelerating business growth.
- In-depth research and careful planning
- Visual exploration and mood boards
- User experience (UX) design
- User interface (UI) design.
- 1,920px – For most external computer monitor sizes
- 1,366px – For most laptop screen sizes
- 992px – For most Notebook and iPad devices
- 768px – For most other tablet devices
- 375px – For most smartphones.
25 April, 2023
The Changing Roles of Web Design and Development in the Age of AI
In the first few months of 2023, generative AI has burst on to the scene and begun to change our relationship with technology forever. Already, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that people in a wide range of jobs will have to adapt quickly or risk being replaced. In this article, we explore the impact AI is having on the web design and development industry, as well as how businesses, and people, should approach working with this innovative technology.
AI tools are nothing new. We’ve all been using them for years, from chatbots to predictive text to voice-controlled assistants like Siri and Alexa. But the recent mainstream adoption of AI tools such as Chat GPT, and the rapid advancement of the technology itself, has caused huge disruption across a number of industries.
Many assumed that people like marketers, software developers, and UX and UI designers would be some of the last ones at risk of having their jobs taken by AI, due to their need for creative skill and use of human emotion. Ironically, these roles have been some of the first to come “under threat” over the past few months.
AI’s speed and efficiency is already forcing us to ask questions about the future of the web design and development industry. With that in mind, one question in particular has dominated discussion online so far this year:
Are our jobs in danger of being taken by AI?
By now, you’re almost certainly aware that AI offers incredible value by accelerating workflows and augmenting skills. Some of the most beneficial use cases lie in:
AI can also devise entire business and marketing strategies, solve complex problems, and even create its own AI-powered applications from scratch. Perhaps most importantly, it can do all these tasks in a matter of seconds, when most of them would take a human several hours, days or even months.
The Latest News and Tools (at the Time of Writing)
Over the past few months, there are more and more AI-powered tools being released on an almost daily basis.
The number of AI tools that have been released recently is staggering, and the capabilities of some of them is truly mind-blowing. Just last month, in March 2023:
It’s both exciting and terrifying to think these highly intelligent tools are just the tip of the AI iceberg. When you consider how common it’s now become to use AI to develop even more advanced AI, it seems that the rate of evolution will only continue to increase exponentially from here.
How is AI Transforming Design and Development?
While these AI tools are extremely impressive, it’s not as straightforward as simply plugging them in and sitting back while they literally do your work for you. It’s possible we may get there one day, but right now we believe we’re a long way off.
These tools are highly sophisticated and intuitive, and their adoption is probably going to change the way we all work forever. However, this should be seen as technology that will augment and enhance people’s ability to do their jobs, or create new jobs entirely, rather than “steal” them away from us.
The current use cases for AI are mostly just ways for you to do your work, much faster and more effectively. This could either be done by automating processes to save time, or by supplementing your existing skill-set with new capabilities with the help of AI. For example, if you wanted to convert your code from one language into multiple languages, you would be able to do this with the help of Chat GPT.
When it comes to user experience (UX) design, one crucial thing AI will always be missing is human empathy, emotion, and understanding. A company looking to create a high-performance website that supports their strategic business goals and engages their target audience will fail if they don’t take into account human understanding and collaboration between them and their web development agency.
Outlining the What and the How is important, but the Why is arguably what drives great UX and UI.
“Design is not just a visual experience, it’s an emotional one. It should make people feel something.”Nathan Shedroff, Author and Professor of Design Strategy
UX design is a nuanced, collaborative process, focusing on the specific requirements of the business and the specific needs of the target audience. You can save a lot of time using AI to produce a high volume of early conceptual designs or accelerate your copywriting process. But without the human element, none of these things will be authentic or anywhere near the required standard.
Potential Concerns and Risks with AI
Of course, we’ve not even mentioned the rising concerns and risks associated with AI yet. Just last month, over 1,000 technology leaders and influencers signed a petition to halt the development of generative AI until more governance can be introduced to ensure its safety.
There are still some serious grey areas regarding the use of this technology in business as well, from regulations and legal implications to the copyright of creative work like logos and images. These are providing opportunities for a wide range of new forms of cyber crime, phishing, and “deep-fake” imitations which could spiral out of control if left unchecked.
There are also plenty of moral issues surrounding AI that we must consider. For example, what implications will there be for our society if global businesses do begin replacing humans with AI on a large scale?
A key concern is that Generative AI is also having a significant impact on the environment, which is a conversation most people seem to be avoiding for the time being. With the global fight to reduce carbon emissions intensifying, and more businesses placing sustainability at the core of their values, there needs to be some action taken to balance those priorities with the efficiency and speed enabled by AI.
The SoBold Perspective
From our perspective, as a leading design and development agency, we believe that people will always want and need to work with other people. Personable relationships, real-life experience, and critical thinking are all essential parts of our work. In many cases, that’s also what many of our clients value most about our services.
Granted, we’re always looking for innovative new ways to push the boundaries, and AI is an incredible tool that will help us do that. But it won’t replace crucial human characteristics like empathy, emotion, and subjective opinions.
It will, however, help us spend less time on low-value tasks, and more time to focus on building stronger relationships and gaining a deeper understanding of our clients’ needs. That will only result in improving the work we deliver, which is something we’re always striving to achieve.
The Verdict on AI (for Now)
This year will probably be looked back on as a turning point in history when AI was introduced to the world. But this technology won’t replace too many jobs just yet. Instead, it will enhance our ability to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently.
For now, the only people at risk of losing their jobs to AI are those who fail – or refuse – to adapt to this new way of working and embrace the change. Similarly, if you’re using AI because you’re being lazy or complacent, that will also cause problems. You should never use work produced by a generative AI tool without checking its quality and accuracy, and you’ll always need to add a human touch before considering it finished.
On the other hand, if you’re forward-thinking and agile, embracing AI will make you exponentially better at your job. Here at SoBold, we’re personally most excited by how AI has the potential to help us vastly improve the service we deliver for our clients.
Of course, this technology is evolving so fast that it’s difficult to predict where we’ll stand a year from now. We’ll be discussing this, and lots of other important trends, in our new monthly newsletter.
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8 March, 2023
5 Women To Shape the Design and Tech Worlds
March 8th is still an important date to remind us of the brilliance of being a woman in our society. Even though it can be a struggle every day, we know that women are capable of anything and we are very proud to celebrate the achievements of these creative and intelligent women.
Who can live without Wi-Fi nowadays? In 1942, Hedy invented the technology that later helped the creation of wireless signals.
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
If you’re not in the programming world, you may not have heard of COBOL. This programming language created in 1952 is still used on business applications to this day. Grace was one of the first ever compilers and her work led to the creation of COBOL.
Even in the age of Sat Nav, you’ve probably relied on a road sign at some point, right? Either driving or walking down the street, the reliable signs are a source of comfort when technology fails. Margaret was part of the team that redesigned the whole UK road sign system. It all started in the late 1950s and her work still guides us even to this day.
‘Just do it’ – the famous tagline from a brand you might have heard of, called Nike. The tick logo was first developed by Carolyn when she was just starting design and the idea behind it to represent speed and motion. Even though the Nike tick is now one of the top 10 most recognised logos worldwide, Carolyn has only made $35 from her design.
We all know Apple. We all know that they’ve conquered the world of technology by consistently presenting unique designs with both their hardware and software. What you probably didn’t know was that Susan was the designer responsible for developing all the typefaces, icons and other elements that serve as the core for what we now know as the Apple brand.
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3 February, 2023
What a Successful Bespoke Development Project Should Look Like for Financial Services Businesses
As a business in the financial services industry, you have to navigate a range of sector-specific challenges that make it difficult to meet current user expectations with technology. This article will explain why a bespoke development project is often the most effective way to solve those challenges, and provide guidance on how to approach such a project.
For a long time, apprehension towards cyber security and data protection, alongside challenges with decades-old legacy systems, meant that many businesses in the financial services sector were a bit behind the technology curve. Banks and other financial services companies weren’t typically known for their impressive websites or sleek digital processes, at least not until fairly recently. Those days are long gone now, though, as digital transformation and technology-driven innovation have changed the financial services industry forever.
Today, both your clients and employees alike expect a seamless digital experience when interacting with your services and processes. And meeting these expectations has become increasingly important over the past 10 years or so, as the more traditional finance businesses have faced disruption from trends like FinTech and digital banking.
But whether you’re a long-standing financial institution, or an early-stage FinTech start-up, there’s a common priority among businesses in this industry – you simply must keep up with the pace of technology in order to stay relevant with your customers and maintain your competitive edge.
Changing Demands from Your Audience of End-Users
The technology trends we’ve highlighted there will have caused you to shift large parts of your business model online over the past few years. Consequently, that will have created a range of new challenges for you.
Whatever services or products you provide, your clients now expect the same convenient, effortless experience they’re used to with the technology they use on their smartphones every day.
When interacting with businesses, most people want to be able to do everything for themselves online, ideally without having to interact with a sales-person or customer service rep. If you can’t enable this self-service in a simple and efficient way, your customers will be left frustrated.
Cyber Security and Data Protection
The amount of data passing through your business is mind-blowing. All that data can be placed at risk if any technology attached to your corporate network is not secure. When you’re working with such highly sensitive financial data and strict industry regulations, all your technology must be highly secure.
Your digital systems need to be highly intuitive, dynamic, and, perhaps most importantly, simple and easy-to-use. That should ideally be the case for all systems, both client-facing and internal.
If your current website feels clunky, unintuitive, or difficult to navigate, your clients will not hesitate to go elsewhere. While that may have been acceptable with cumbersome legacy systems in the financial services market 20 years ago, it’s simply not an option today.
People will leave a company’s website forever after one poor experience. This demonstrates just how important an excellent user experience (UX) is in retaining your user base.
Similarly, with internal systems like staff training portals or corporate knowledge bases, a poor UX will stifle adoption and usage of the technology. In turn, that will have a negative impact on your return on investment (ROI).
Using Bespoke Development to Overcome Business Challenges
In order to break down those barriers and overcome those challenges, many of the leading financial services companies have developed websites that are entirely bespoke.
Modern enterprise systems need to be dynamic, intuitive, and user-centric. Delivering on all those attributes often requires bespoke development, especially in an industry as nuanced and complex as financial services.
Your customers, partners, and clients must be able to interact with your services and access their data online, from anywhere, at any time. Not only that, but they also expect personalised content, tailored to their specific needs or challenges, at every stage of their user journey.
For that reason, it’s often necessary to take the route of a bespoke development project to ensure that your business gains exactly what it needs – and that your users get exactly what they want – in terms of both functionality and capability.
This covers all the possibilities and ensures your digital presence is tailored to your specific business objectives, the preferences of your users, and unique requirements, including:
Whatever it is your business requires, you can follow the simple, proven process outlined below to ensure your investment in new technology is a successful one.
How to Approach a Bespoke Development Project for a Financial Services Business
Understand the Purpose of What You’re Building
The first thing you need to do is reach a clear understanding of exactly what you’re trying to achieve with your website. Whatever you’re looking to build, it should align with, and support, your company’s strategic business objectives.
It should also meet a specific need or solve a specific challenge for the users it’s aimed at. This will help you begin to determine exactly what you need in terms of design, usability, and any other bespoke functionality.
Define Your Requirements in a Project Brief
A brief is a simple written document that lists all the key ideas and details you think are relevant to the website or platform you’re looking to build. Use this to list all your functional and non-functional requirements, as that will make the project as clear as possible for the design and development agencies you speak to.
Try to be as specific as possible to give yourself the best chance of having the project delivered on time, within your budget, and to your bespoke specifications. Without that specificity, you’ll likely be disappointed and could even end up drastically over-spending.
For a comprehensive guide to creating a brief that will set you up for a successful web design and development project, read our useful article here.
Evaluate Your Technology Options
In most cases, you’ll use a content management system (CMS) to build your bespoke site. This is a type of software-based platform that allows you to create, edit, and publish digital content across a range of online channels and devices.
Every bespoke development project will be different, so you should aim to select the CMS that best aligns with your objectives, requirements, budget, and other factors.
For example, WordPress is fast-becoming the platform of choice for many forward-thinking financial services businesses, because of the flexibility and fast time-to-market it offers.
To learn more about how to understand and evaluate the enterprise CMS options for bespoke development, read our helpful related article here.
Find and Select an Agency Partner
Building, managing, and maintaining a high-performance website in the current technology landscape can be very complex. It requires a wealth of expertise and experience, and also takes time. For that reason, the vast majority of businesses work with a web design and development agency to bring their vision to life.
The choice you make about which agency to partner with will have a significant influence on the success or failure of your project, so approach this decision with a great deal of care.
When you’re dealing with such a high volume of sensitive financial data, you must find an agency that understands and respects the critical nature of the work they’ll deliver for you.
You should consider the following qualities as non-negotiable for your an agency:
What Are the Key Components of a Successful Bespoke Development Project in the Financial Services Sector?
There are some key components of a web development project that you can specifically include in your requirements before you speak to any agencies. These will ensure you minimise your risks and mitigate potential problems, both during and after the delivery of the project.
You should use these as criteria when assessing your agencies and your technology platform, as they should all be non-negotiable for any business in the financial services sector.
Hosting and Performance
Hosting refers to the physical and virtual data centres used to house your website. It’s crucial to ensure your site will be hosted in a secure environment, with an experienced, trustworthy provider, because this will have a significant influence on things like security and performance. You’re likely expecting to deal with a high volume of data and a large audience of users, so it’s crucial to ensure your website or platform can handle that.
Security is not an after-thought, it’s a critical priority. From your choice of hosting services, to your data back-up and disaster recovery, right through to the frequent testing of your live site. Always place this at the very top of your list of questions when speaking to an agency or a technology provider about developing something bespoke.
Providing your users with personalised services and content is another crucial capability for modern financial services companies, but not all platforms can facilitate this.
In order to ensure your end-users are having their experiences tailored to each individual, some bespoke functionality could be necessary.
Scalability and Multi-Site Development
As business growth is likely one of your key strategic objectives, your site must be able to support that. A scalable platform will allow you to seamlessly expand your online presence as your business grows and your needs change.
Integration with Back-End Systems
Like most financial services companies, your corporate network probably includes a variety of old and new systems and applications across all your different departments. If you’re going to have something new developed, you’ll need to build it on a technology platform that can seamlessly integrate with all those relevant systems.
Whether or not a technology solution is a good investment or a bad one often depends on how easy it is to use, both for your team internally and your end-users. Usability is a key criteria
One of the great advantages of developing a bespoke site is that you can continue to iterate and improve it based on user feedback. However, you’ll want to ensure you’re able to do so quickly and efficiently.
Working with an agency, and a technology platform, that enables a fast time-to-market with your development projects is an important part of the process in terms of achieving positive ROI.
Ongoing Development and Optimisation
Following on from the previous point, your web development project shouldn’t stop at the delivery and deployment of your solution. Once your site is live, measure and analyse its adoption and usage. You can use that feedback to continue optimising its capabilities and functionality for the best possible results.
The Business Benefits of Bespoke Development
While technology does create its fair share of challenges for businesses that are unprepared or unwilling to adapt, it also presents a vast range of opportunities to those who embrace it.
A bespoke development project delivers something entirely unique and specific to your business, giving you a range of benefits and advantages, including:
Financial services has always been a highly competitive industry, but with recent technology trends and changing consumer behaviour, it’s now more important than ever to have a strong, user-centric digital presence.
Not only do your clients and partners demand their data be handled in a secure, compliant way, they also expect a seamless, consumer-grade performance from all digital processes and services they use. Unexpected down-time, poor UX, or any similar frustrations will leave your customers unsatisfied and may put their loyalty in question.
In order to avoid these challenges and minimise your risks, it’s important to find the right agency, with the right technology, to create a website tailored to meet your strategic objectives and exceed your clients’ expectations.
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17 May, 2023
Preparing Your Website for Development after the Design Phase
The end-to-end process of web design is made up of a number of different phases that should all inform and complement each other.
When working with a web design and development agency, they should use their expertise and experience to guide you through this process, which consists of:
Once you’ve completed each of those phases and you have a design that you’re proud of, your agency partner will be tasked with preparing your website for development.
This article will explain the process of preparing a website for development, helping you understand what’s involved, what to expect, and how to approach it.
Designing Your Website Across Different Break-Points
In a recent article, we explained how the purpose of your UX is to help your visitors complete a task or process on your website as easily as possible, ultimately leading them to follow a call-to-action.
Your UX is brought to life by your UI, which includes all the visual and interactive elements of your website, from colour and font to buttons and scrolling.
Towards the end of the UI design phase, the next step will be to roll out your designs across a number of break-points.
Break-points are the screen sizes of devices that your design will fit within. This allows your website to be designed as responsive and optimised for use across a wide range of different devices and channels.
This is important because certain aspects of your site may not translate down perfectly across different screen sizes.
Here at SoBold, we design sites across the following break-points, but this may vary from agency to agency:
If you want your website to be designed as mobile-first, it’s important to raise it at the beginning of the project so your agency can create your wireframes in that context. However, you should only ever make that decision based on real data regarding your target audience’s preferences.
In this case, your agency should work with you to conduct some additional research and determine the best screen size for your particular audience. This will ensure the UX designers work with the right starting point for your high-fidelity wireframes.
A Thorough Hand-Over from Design to Development
This phase of a website project involves a process that takes a lot of careful work and close collaboration between the different teams within an agency.
Here at SoBold, we make a point to ensure the design team talks the development team through all the work they’ve done on your mood boards, UX design, and UI design in detail. This includes explaining the decision making process behind everything they’ve designed.
While a lot of agencies will just hand the designs to the developers and ask them to start building, we believe this is something that should be treated as more of a team effort. Doing so as a core part of our process has proven to add tremendous value to the work our clients have received in recent years.
It’s beneficial to the overall project for the developers to fully understand why the decisions have been made about the designs. It’s also important that they’re given a detailed run through of what they’re building within the context of the whole site.
For example, there may be a fairly complex block which is built early on in the development process. If the developers are made aware that slight variations of this same block will be used several times throughout the site, they can save valuable time and work more efficiently by repurposing the first block when it’s first built.
This hand-over is crucial in ensuring the development process runs smoothly, providing you with a high-performance website that meets your expectations, delivered on time and within budget.
A Well Designed Website Ready to Be Built
After the hand-over is complete, your agency will be able to export all your design assets and the developers will begin building your website.
While web design may seem straightforward when explained like this, in reality it’s a complex process that requires a great deal of specialist skills and expertise. That’s why it’s so important to have the support of an agency partner you can trust and rely on to guide you.
Working with a talented agency will ensure you’re able to create a unique design that will resonate with your target audience and help you achieve your strategic business goals through your new website.
Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog series where we’ll walk you step-by-step through the web development process, making it far more approachable and easy to manage for you.
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19 August, 2022
Celebrating 2 years with Martina Gabrielli
The moment Marti joined us at SoBold, we were excited and eager to see how she would translate her enthusiasm and energy towards development towards real life projects. We were not let down and she hit the ground running.
2 years later, largely hampered by COVID, we now are getting the absolute best out of Marti. She is incredibly reliable, diligent and talented and she is involved in all of our biggest projects.
Marti has never been one to code for the sake of coding, and she always makes sure she understands the bigger picture before diving into a project.
⅓ of the Italian SoBold Office crew, we are very fortunate to have Marti and we truly can’t wait to watch her skillset improve and see her continue to work on the biggest and best projects!
We caught up with Marti to find out more about what she gets up to in her day to day life.
At what point in your life did you decide to become a developer?
Having studied Foreign Languages and Literatures, since uni I had a dream to become a successful translator. I came to London to fulfil this dream but I wasn’t sure which field to specialise in yet. So I started working at a restaurant, and in my spare time, I would translate articles for online media sites and magazines, and also produce subtitles for tv series.
Later on, I started a course in software localisation, and this opened up the dev world to me as I had to put my hands on the software source code. When it was time to search for a job, reality had a massive hit: competition was high, work was difficult to find, it was clear I had to invest more time and specialise furthermore.
I felt stuck and didn’t really know what to do with my life. So I went backpacking around the world for a few months, and I decided to dive more into that dev world that I found so interesting. Time wasn’t really a problem while travelling, so I read a lot about web development and took a lot of online courses. I devoured so many online resources, I just couldn’t believe they were all a click away! Since my first “Hello World” project, I’ve found the process of coding and building a website from scratch a beautiful mix of creative problem solving that never disappoints. Long story short, that’s when I knew I wanted to become a developer.
Describe your typical day
I wake up at 6:30am, I feed Coco and Lucy (my cats), I put some tunes on while having breakfast, quick shower. Then it’s checking the weather time: if it looks cloudy and rainy I’ll take the tube, otherwise, I’ll most probably board my Brompton and off we go to the office! Ideally, I like to conclude the evening by doing some form of exercise, usually rollerskating or a walk/run.
What’s your favourite project to date
I really enjoyed working on the new SoBold website, it’s been a huge team effort and the result it’s simply amazing!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I once read this quote: “If we all threw our problems in a pile, we’d grab ours back.”
I think it’s a beautiful sentence, it makes me appreciate life every day and makes me very grateful for all I have.
If you had to change careers what would you do instead?
Not sure what but surely something related to sport.
What was your most recent challenge and how did you overcome It?
When you’re a developer, every day there’s a new challenge. You just have to learn how to tackle them. In general, I think talking with a colleague helps a lot. Also “rubber ducking” can be a useful method for debugging code. In both cases, they’re powerful methods that consist in taking a break and articulating the problem in plain language.
What’s your favourite thing to do outside of work?
I’m a big ramp skate fanatic. https://www.instagram.com/martymcroll/
What 3 items would you bring to a desert island?
🇨🇭 🔪 🎸 and 🛌🏽