When you have a lot of different properties that you want to power from the same CMS, that you want to have a shared component library for, headless can really lend itself to that.
Gabe Karp is the Managing Director of EMEA at 10up Europe, an enterprise digital agency that creates finely crafted websites and tools for content creators through impactful design. A former VP at Blue State Digital, Karp has worked closely with NGOs, major political campaigns and large corporate clients to design and develop digital platforms.
In this episode of Velocitize Talks, Karp shares his insights into the future of digital experiences and building websites for that future.
The Future is Headless (1:10)
Every conversation we have is a conversation about the right technology for the future.
A faster, more robust digital experience is the technology of the future. Headless, or decoupled, architecture provides this experience. A decoupled front end and back end allows for a more tailored experience across every digital touchpoint a consumer encounters. 10up knows this is the future of a brand’s digital presence. “This is where we really get into conversations about headless,” says Karp, “and about how WordPress not only feeds my website but feeds my app and my data store.”
Giving Back to WordPress (2:23)
WordPress is so rooted in the fact that it is an open-source solution; that doesn’t mean anything if you’re not contributing back.
Contributing to open source has many benefits to both the contributor as well as the community. It helps to fine tune a platform as well as improve existing code and creates a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to ensuring its success. 10up has 40+ WordPress contributors on staff which means it has two of the 18 developers in the world who can directly commit changes to WordPress. They have contributed thousands of patches and employ one of the six lead WordPress developers. By giving back, 10up found a way to be in control of their own destiny.
“When we see opportunities to solve a problem for a client that will apply to every other client that we have or to clients that other people have, we want to contribute back,” says Karp. In other words, they don’t want to build the same thing numerous times. Since 10up has built its business leveraging WordPress for its clients, the agency feels that contributing is their responsibility.
How Does Your Website Perform? (3:52)
When it starts with UX and design, let’s make sure we are monitoring everything that we do against performance.
To get a clear understanding of how well a website is performing, a performance benchmark is the place to start. It gives insight not just into how a website performs; it also takes a look at competitor websites and areas that can be improved or need your immediate attention. 10up takes it one step further by adding a performance budget with the benchmarking.
“When you have that kind of performance budget set from the beginning, you can make business-driven decisions showing that the business values performance,” says Karp. In other words, since Google obviously cares about performance, that’s what 10up invests in. The agency partnered with Den of Geek to implement SEO improvements by focusing on performance and core web vitals.
Flexibility + Scalability (8:19)
When you have a lot of different properties that you want to power from the same CMS, headless can really lend itself to that. You can still use the same front end and a lot of the same elements, so that’s a huge benefit.
Headless CMSs are easier, faster and more flexible for website development. The headless CMS also costs less to create new functionality and is more scalable than a traditional CMS. An example of a 10up headless project is the recent website redesign for The Big Issue using the Atlas headless platform. 10up was able to leverage a component library they had previously built for another client. This allowed them to build the site incredibly quickly with already two years of work in the publishing space.
“It both accelerated the baseline for them as to what their site could be, but also sped up development and allowed us to build a cost-effective solution,” says Karp.
What We’re Reading (10:23)
Whether your company is experiencing burnout or not in an acute way, it’s important to be educated on.
Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, 89% of global workers said their work life was getting worse. In Jennifer Moss’s book, Burnout Epidemic, she writes about an alternative way to address burnout within our organizations, and it isn’t investing in more self-care offerings. In fact, she points out that self care can’t solve burnout; it’s the upstream impacts that lead to happiness and wellbeing detractors.
Karp found that the book pushed him to think about how to set up a structure where people have the right work-life balance. “It’s about how you give people the right balance of accountability and control over their own destiny, and the right workloads,” says Karp.