How does headless CMS impact digital design?

Headless CMSs are the back-end only content management systems of now and the future. Despite this, there are many misconceptions about how headless actually affects digital design. So, in this blog, we’re going to rectify these misunderstandings and underline how headless CMSs facilitate more creative, effective and personalised digital design experiences.

What is headless CMS

The architecture of a CMS can be broken into two categories: front-end and back-end. The back-end is the repository where your company’s digital content is safely stored and maintained, and the front-end is the presentation layer that your customers see when they interact with your brand digitally.

This could be any experience from a visit to your website’s homepage, searching for products on your company’s app or even browsing on the kiosk in your high street shop.

Traditional CMSs take care of both the back-end content management and the front-end User Experience. To do so, the front-end and the back-end are usually interwoven with code, but this causes significant problems for developers when they try to replicate content on a new channel.

Marketers face similar challenges as well. When traditional CMSs require updates, they can take significantly longer if the front-end and back-end are coded together.

Headless CMS is back-end only. Removing the need to hardcode the two together and eliminating the challenges this presents brands. Watch our headless explainer video below or download our introduction to headless whitepaper.

How does headless CMS impact UX design?

A headless CMS is back-end only, but this doesn’t mean the front-end is ignored. Instead, back-end only CMS gives brands more freedom to focus on creating first class front-end design.

By removing the hardcoded relationship between front-end and back-end, headless CMS eliminates the inherent formatting biases that occur when content and code are intertwined. Now, raw and unformatted content can instantly be translated and displayed on multiple different devices or channels with minimal effort.

When a CMS is front-end agnostic like this, the responsibility for how content is presented changes. Traditionally, marketers would complete the time-consuming process of formatting any content when its uploaded through the CMS. With headless, the CMS takes a back seat and content is automatically formatted to suit each channel it is used on through the use of design systems.

Removing the hard coded relationship between the front-end and back-end gives designers and developers more freedom to create better, channel specific and personalised User Experiences. The headless CMS then feeds each of the different user experiences they create dependent on what content is needed.

So, a headless CMS means the same content can be presented differently on 5 different devices at the same time, instantly.

What does this mean for CX?

Going headless is not just a technological solution, it’s a change in approach. Rather than considering digital design as merely a default feature within your brand’s identity, implementing a headless CMS demonstrates that your approach to design is intentional and result driven – that way you can best optimise your brand’s UX touchpoints in order to actualise your CX strategy.

The speed of delivery within a headless approach allows businesses to test multiple iterations of a front-end experience and learn which one receives the best results in the same time it takes for a monolithic CMS to fully launch its first iteration. Therefore, headless lets you gain real insight about a customer’s behaviours, which you can then use to drive digital optimisation. So, in view of a wider CX strategy, the true value lies within the entire process, from implementation of headless to delivery of design.

This epitomises why headless CMSs are easier to scale up for growth – because their architecture means businesses can simply add the highest priority digital system to their estates, as and when they are ready. Ultimately, organisations that undertake these steps in conjunction with their broader CX strategy will achieve the best results.

Profound works with leading brands to help them achieve their Customer Experience strategies. We are experts in headless solutions, and use this knowledge to guide our clients towards success in incremental, achievable steps. Contact us today to make this first step towards digital maturity.

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Front-end v's Back-end