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Dynamic modules contribute to site consistency

I recently learned from a seasoned manager that there are four types of workers:

  • Industrious worker
    • Follows instructions—The best performer
    • Ignores instructions—The worst performer
  • Lazy worker
    • Follows instructions—A medium performer
    • Ignores instructions—A medium performer

We naturally praise ambitious workers over those who are sleepwalking, but that perception isn't entirely fair. Employers unknowingly pay lazy workers to do nothing, but that’s better than paying an industrious worker to inadvertently do the wrong thing, and then paying again to do the right thing. (I've been in that category of worker, and it's no fun to be so reminded during an annual review.)

In electronic publishing, consistency is a hallmark of a high-quality site. The industrious-incorrect workers can inadvertently damage a site’s consistency by enthusiastically applying incorrect modules. Brightspot’s Dynamic Modules extension helps enforce consistency and productivity when it comes to module selection.

Before we get into the advantages this extension provides, let’s go over some basic terminology.

A “module” is a layout of child assets within a parent asset.

Rendered modules

Referring to the previous image, taken from Solution for marketing & corporate, there are two modules. The top module has an image to the left of the text, and the bottom module has an image to the right of the text. Brightspot’s standard theme comes with these modules and the many others used most often in electronic publishing. Customers can modify the modules or design their own using the Brightspot Design System.

Within the module picker, modules are grouped into “style groups.” Referring to the following image, the style group Promo includes four modules: Card, Image On Top, Card, Image On Top Large, Card, Image Only, and Card, Image Large. The other style groups have their own modules.

Style groups in module picker

Style groups keep modules organized so that individual modules are easy to find.

Nevertheless, as a publication grows, and as a site’s theme grows, there is often a proliferation of modules and style groups. As so often happens in similar situations, an editor may be unable to find the correct module, and instead apply one that is “close enough” to what the site’s design standards require. Over time, applying incorrect modules contributes to an inconsistent appearance and increased maintenance.

With the Dynamic Taxonomy extension, administrators allow certain modules, grouped into curated style groups and module categories, to be available to certain content types.

Curated style groups with content types
Curated style groups with content types

Referring to the previous illustration—

  • The content types Homepage and Page are associated with two curated style groups: Lists and Containers.
  • The curated style group Lists contains two categories of modules: (List Module with two standard modules Standard List A and Standard List B) and Person List Module (with standard module Person List).
  • The curated style group Containers contains two categories of modules: Container Module 1 Column (with standard module One Column Container), and Container Module 2 Column (with standard module Two Column Container).

In this scenario, Brightspot organizes the available modules in a manner similar to a file explorer. For a given content type, the curated style groups are at the top level, module categories are at the second level, and modules are at the third level.

Dynamic modules for a content type
Dynamic modules for a content type

The primary benefits of Dynamic Modules for editors are faster asset layouts; for administrators, Dynamic Modules ensures site consistency and conformance to design standards.

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About the Author
At Brightspot we believe technology should enable content-focused teams to work smarter, faster, and more seamlessly to move businesses forward. With decades of experience in publishing and media, we help companies transform their business content and digital experiences by creating enterprise applications at scale with astonishing speed.

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