Web services are evolving to favor faster development and simpler design. On the leading edge is modular development.

A number of industries — from automotive to construction — have been at the forefront of adopting modular design. Your business should be next; take it from a developer who uses modules to easily build hundreds of pages per year.

What are Website Modules?

Modules are common website components that are used like building blocks to create pages. Each module is a collection of “generic” elements — images, text, buttons, etc. Many modules are combined to build a page. This breaks complex problems into smaller components that are easier to understand, communicate and build.

To understand website modules, think about Legos. Give a group of kids a pile of Lego building blocks and one will build a skyscraper, while another builds a car or a robot. The basic building blocks stay the same, but the way they are put together changes.

For example, you’ve probably seen many websites that have a hero, jumbotron or splash. No matter what you call a webpage’s introductory section, the layout is pretty much the same. They all feature a heading, maybe a subheading, a CTA and a big background image.

An example of a website hero with a background image, heading, descriptive text, and a CTA button.

An example of a website hero with a background image, heading, descriptive text, and a CTA button.

An example of a website hero with a background image, heading, descriptive text, and a CTA button.

These three hero examples all use the exact same HTML structure!

Despite how diverse the CSS may be, the HTML for all of these hero elements is the same. Once you write the HTML for one hero section, you’ve pretty much written the HTML for every hero section you’ll ever make.

<div class="hero">
 <div class="hero-text">
 <h1>Lorem ipsum dolor sit.</h1>
 <p>Consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse finibus ex dapibus sem bibendum, eget mollis nibh convallis.</p>
 <button>Learn More</button>

This allows for the reuse of segments of code, or “modules,” from one project to another, saving significant amounts of time that can be put toward custom CSS coding or another project.

Modular Development and Functional Prototypes

Having a library of common modules also helps in building functional website prototypes.

Wireframes are always good to have so the layout of a website can be planned before the design is finalized. Functional wireframes are even better, since you can click around and interact with the site as if it were live.

This saves time by removing a step out of the project’s development process. Instead of using Illustrator (or another wireframing tool), a developer can set up simple web pages using a library of modules.

This is the “two birds, one stone” approach because your wireframes also function as a starting point for the project’s code.

Benefits of Modular Development

Modular development has many benefits. Modules are:

  • FlexibleContent creators can mix and match design elements as needed.
  • Adaptable – Page design can be easily amended based on a website’s needs.
  • Testable – By quickly changing modules, marketers can A/B test and use analytics to see what works.
  • Easy to Maintain – Using pre-styled modules make it easy to maintain a consistent look and feel across an entire website, even when the end user is a novice.
  • Time Efficient – The biggest reason I love modular development is because it saves time. Why recode what you’ve already coded? Don’t repeat yourself, and spend that time on custom coding instead.
A screenshot showing a sample of our website's admin area, where different modules can be set up to create a web page.

A sample of the modules that Knucklepuck uses to build out its webpages.

The Next Step

If you’re a developer, start building your library of common modules. If you’re not a developer but have a website, talk to your developer about using modular design. This will keep your site ready to react to analytics and maximize the impact on your target market.

Better yet, if you want to take an easier route, consider having the development team at Knucklepuck leverage our expertise — and massive library of common modules — to make your site flexible, adaptable and effective. Contact us today.