Good Module. Bad Module
Even though “Module” is something of an industry term, there is no agreed-upon industry standard for what makes an individual module or library of modules great.
At Fictive Kin, we took matters into our own hands and developed standards of excellence for modules that are grounded in the data and have been proven time and again to deliver results.
At their core, good modules are defined by power and flexibility. They anticipate the variations in the storytelling that the organization might need and enable those variations. If you have to change your content or adjust your narrative to make it “fit” into a module, the system has failed you.
Example: this is one module, designed for Kickstarter, that has hundreds of storytelling variations, each of which is easily selected and configured from the CMS with no additional design or dev help required.
In addition to enabling great storytelling, we’ve found that each module needs to meet the following set of standards to be effective:
Performant (in terms of speed): Slow websites get bad results.
AA Accessible: For most organizations, AA is the right level of accessibility to do right by your visitors, while not constraining brand creativity. Large organizations are frequently sued for falling outside of appropriate accessibility guidelines.
Responsive: The module should retain its quality of design across Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile screens.
SEO-Optimized: We need to feed the beast that is Google. If you don’t have your SEO set up well, you miss out on a lot of long-term traffic.
Completely editable and configurable: Every relevant part of the module should be able to be edited from within the CMS. If there are multiple variants of the same module, they should be configurable within the CMS as well.
It’s quite the list, but the results are well worth it.
Note: be careful of websites that simply look modular. Just because one page of the site looks like another, does not mean that those pages are built from the ground up in a modular way. It is a common bad practice for people to copy / paste entire page layouts as a means of duplicating the styles. While this may look similar to a visitor, it denies you all the benefits of modularity.