The Importance of a Flexible Design Methodology

March 14, 2022
Flexibility is always at the heart of our design methodology, but it’s not often we get a chance to take this literally. So when the oldest Jewish community newspaper in the world, The Jewish Chronicle, came knocking, with over 175 years of leading editorial and opinion, we were more than happy to answer.

Tasking us to plan, design, and build a front-end solution to handle vast amounts of archive content, simultaneously providing daily, global and local news to an incredibly discerning community. We were set to work on a project that proved to be one of the most rewarding and challenging to date, right up our street then.

As the JC are so well established, we knew from the beginning that a waterfall approach to design and build just wouldn’t suit a project of this scale. Otherwise we’d be taking on the burden of building hundreds of unique templates, to accommodate everything from football league tables, to Passover recipe ideas and travel blogs.

Before we put cursor to pixel, we knew the site had to be fully modular, with user interface widgets that could be delivered and approved with close collaboration with the JC’s editorial and design team, on a weekly basis. The idea being that the JC would have a UI toolkit, that they could tinker with to their heart's content and produce an infinite number of distinct section and article pages.

It’s at this stage we introduced, flexi-grids. The perfect solution for handling what could amount to hundreds of article widgets, some with/without images; working simultaneously with promoted articles, sport fixtures, breaking news, features, videos, galleries etc. I could go on, in total we produced over 150 unique widgets that if we wanted, could be used on a single page - but that would be daft! The technology provided to be quite straightforward, each page element automatically adjusts in height to match the adjacent content block, so the tallest page element dictates the total height of a block. This means that content is always displayed in beautifully regimented blocks, with enough variety in row heights to stop things looking too uniform.

Being flexible was also essential as unlike 99% of Clock projects, we wouldn’t be implementing the back-end technology ourselves. So clearly defined auto-flex page elements would aid our technology partner, and provide all the tools required for an efficient delivery. It’s still early days for the new-look JC, but we are privileged to continue our strong working relationship with the JC with exciting future development in the pipeline. Things are looking good for another 175 years…