How do you empower people of all skill and knowledge levels to feel like experts?
That’s the main challenge we face in building our new website tool, specifically, the component where users add pages to their website, indicate functionality features, and arrange all the information into a sitemap. Of course, anyone who has written a website brief understands that an important part of determining pricing and project scope is a solid grasp on the structure of the website: how many pages, how they are arranged, and what the website needs to do for its users. But not everyone has extensive experience writing briefs. Or maybe they do, but they hate how long it takes, or they don’t have the domain-specific knowledge of what the parts of a website are called. There are lots of moving pieces in web development.
There are a million reasons why someone might either be reluctant or unable to provide a useful scope for us to follow for building their website. At traditional agencies, this is where account management comes in; someone often meets one-on-one with the client for discovery. This usually takes hours, and sometimes more than one meeting, on top of the time the account person then needs to spend writing the documentation and communicating it to internal teams and the client. Needless to say, this is highly inefficient and doesn’t necessarily guarantee better results. Not that we have anything against the traditional agency model, mind you—it’s just not how we run things.
At BXP Creative, we develop tools that make it super simple for marketers or an agency with clients to collect just the information that matters, build out a brief automatically, set simple pricing that doesn’t increase overhead, and get on with your other work.
The idea of a sitemap builder sprang to life over a year ago, before we had even started conceptualizing our new platform, as a way to simplify the way our users communicated the scope of website projects to us. We could make the whole process easier and more transparent from a pricing standpoint if we tied the pages and functionality to fixed prices, which would update as a user selected options. By seeing the project price change in real time, there would be no possibility of sticker shock after a long discovery, nor would there be any confusion about what certain functionality costs to add or remove.
The idea sat on the backburner as more pressing matters needed to be addressed, but as soon as we began discussions about creating a new platform, we knew it was something that had to be included.
We’re big fans of WordPress, and we use it for many of the sites we build for users and clients. As such, we referenced the WordPress menu editor as a starting point for our sitemap builder. Basically, it’s a visual representation of all the pages on your site, with subpages indented as “children” of main pages. These subpages will typically fall under a main page in a dropdown. This was a good first step, but we needed two features the WordPress menu editor didn’t have: It needed to work as well on mobile as it does on desktop, and it needed to include on-page functionality options for users to select. For example, if a user wants to add a job application form on a specific page of their site, but not to all pages, they can add it to their “Careers” page.