By Corrie Oberdin • 26 February, 2014
When starting a web design project do you already know which tools you want to use? Do you already know which Content Management System (CMS) your company will select? Have you already made the decision that your going to use this widget and that plugin, among other things? If you have, you may be doing yourself a disservice.
In many cases, when we sit down with clients for an initial meeting on web projects, we get questions about specific content management solutions or certain technologies that are the next big thing and they want incorporate them into their project. However, any technology or platform an organization wants or could use is not where we start. This is because, in order to come up with the most creative and effective solutions to a organization’s needs, it’s important as designers and developers to be “platform agnostic”.
Being “platform agnostic” doesn’t mean we’re talking about religion! Instead, it means that we approach a project in an unbiased manner – not deciding on a particular platform or technology until we understand the needs of the client/project. This is not to say that we don’t have our preferences, but approaching projects without a “one size fits all” mentality allows us to view potential solutions from many different angles. Once we understand the goals and direction, we can intelligently select the most appropriate mechanisms towards their achievement.
We believe that designers & developers need to be well rounded, not necessarily expert, but have at least a working knowledge in the many aspects of what is possible in order to design projects towards targeted goals. We want to approach a project in a way that there are no (initial) mental limits of what can be done as this gives us the benefit of contemplating many possible solutions. This lets us come up with what we feel is the best solution then, if needed, scale to meet any necessary restrictions. This provides the best value for our clients.
Once we have determined the goals for a project (using the platform agnostic approach) only then do we select the appropriate tools, technologies and techniques to support those goals. But the challenge is using tools that maximize the experience independent of how it’s being viewed. In this aspect the project itself needs to be “Platform Agnostic”. One of a projects goal should be that no matter which device is being used (smart phone, tablet, desktop), the site should be deliver the best experience across every one.
The websites above were made using different Content Management Systems, based on the ideas we talk about above. Can you tell the difference? An end user may not notice, nor probably really cares what tools were used to manage the information they are viewing. But from an administration perspective, each of these sites had different requirements which were taken into consideration when selecting the tools used to create them. These decisions makes the sites easier to manage, update and expand for future growth.