Sitecore SXA

Sitecore SXA
19th May 2020

Get websites up and running quickly with Sitecore Experience Accelerator

What is Sitecore SXA?

Sitecore Experience Accelerator is favoured by organisations that want to achieve a speedy, smooth sailing website build and deployment. Sitecore SXA enables businesses to utilise reusable, templated user experience components and layouts to improve project efficiency.

Project managers, developers and content specialists dream of projects that are planned, managed and implemented to meet tight deadlines. However, tasks can often end up being squeezed into existing time constraints, bottle-necked tasks may cause delays and as a result communication may suffer.

In reality, nobody can control unforeseen project set-backs. But with Sitecore SXA (Sitecore Experience Accelerator), organisations can speed up the build process and keep teams on track through a collaborative approach.

Sitecore 8.2 introduced this feature simply to help their users create websites more efficiently and get to market faster. SXA joins the list of great Sitecore features that are available with Sitecore 9 and the most recent Sitecore upgrades, including:

How does Sitecore SXA work?

Typically, Sitecore development tends to follow a stricter order of operation. Firstly, wireframes are developed which drive user experience (UX) and design, these take the process to the next step of shaping the user experience. Then back-end development steps in to create the components which then gets handed over to the frontend development team to complete the look and feel of the site and to finalise the delivery. This includes iteration for bug fixing, requirement clarification and change requests.

sitecore sxa

The benefit of Sitecore SXA is that many of the steps can happen in conjunction. This reduces time to market for large websites from months to a matter of weeks. This also results in less dependencies of requiring developers to get a site up and running using the readily available toolbox. Making Sitecore SXA, great news for ambitious organisations that want to operate quickly without sacrificing quality.

Marketers are then able to oversee multiple processes, without requiring dependencies across various development steps. This keeps teams happy and means the project is always moving forward.

In standard build processes, development doesn’t usually start until wire framing has been completed. Sitecore SXA changes all of this by creating a fluid development environment, in which processes become circular, as opposed to linear. Allowing for content editors to be driving necessary changes within the platform to match the constantly changing and evolving market

What are the key benefits and features of Sitecore SXA?

The Sitecore Experience Accelerator does just that – it accelerates. Everything about Sitecore SXA is designed to make the website build process faster. Either with the initial go to market or applying new changes and updates in order to keep a brand responsive to an always changing market.

Scaling out templating

SXA provides a simplified method of setting up standardised webpage layouts, grid templates, responsive and reusable components and overall theme selection to promote a coherent brand experience. Together, these features provide an efficient solution to typically bottle-necked development processes.

Firstly, Sitecore SXA allows its users to pick up a template and follow set best practices without spending hours re-thinking the fundamentals. Secondly, teams are enabled to work in parallel, thus cutting down on over development and iteration time.

Once the layouts are selected for pages, the components that provide the most reuse and value will be tackled by the front end and back end developers who now can define functionality as well as look and feel, separately, all while content editors develop the core information required to complete the platform. With the added benefit of detaching the sequential development tasks, the HTML which drives the visual structure and the CSS which drives look and feel are no longer co-dependent.

The visual structure is provided by SXA’s layout, and the CSS can be versioned and applied based on the visual cues that content marketers and visual designers feel most relevant to the content being delivered on the page. This method of applying the visual to webpages is extremely useful when making branding changes, or tweaks to platforms that are driven from routine changes to design guidelines or fluctuating demands from the market.

By working in this way, you can be sure that your team are working smarter, by pushing teams to be heavily invested in driving valuable conversations where decisions are mutually beneficial. Rather than a typical problem in development projects where teams make siloed decisions during the typical waterfall development progress, later causing problems to teams involved at a later point

Getting the whole team involved from day one

Sitecore SXA’s unique way of working means that there are no hold-ups for developers or content editors in the early stages of the build. Using SXA, those traditionally involved in a later stage of the build don’t have to wait for initial stages to be completed.

This inclusive approach means that the whole team can be involved in the project right from the start. In theory, the more elements that get completed earlier, the less pressured those final stages of development should be.

Stop deadline-related angst

Sitecore SXA allows content editors to get involved much earlier. They have a much longer lead time to be generating the necessary content in parallel to the development process. In addition, content editors have a stronger voice when deciding the layout of pages, which will be designed with their content in mind. This empowers content editors to drive towards hard deadlines alongside all participating developers. The clear deadlines given to them in advance means:

  • better project management
  • less churn
  • more invested participants.

Clear deadlines not only keep teams aligned, but also helps to alleviate pressure by leaving extra room for correcting bugs and errors before going live.

Multi-use, multi-project

Sitecore SXA isn’t just a tool for new website builds, organisations can take full advantage of its features when starting a number of different projects, including:

  • Microsite builds
  • Instances where technical teams wish to work with design and content teams simultaneously
  • Adoption projects where a lengthy, multi-stage approach is needed

How can your organisation get more from Sitecore by using Sitecore SXA?

If you’re thinking of investing in a new-build website or a large development project, then Sitecore SXA cuts down on time significantly and in turn can help budgets go much further.

We are Kagool, a digital agency that specialises in the design, build and optimisation of Sitecore websites. We are a Platinum Sitecore Partner, we can offer your business a free Sitecore demo to help give you a better understanding of how the platform could help your organisation achieve its digital goals. If you’re an existing Sitecore user and you’d like to get more out of your investment, contact us about a Sitecore audit.

To find out how we can help you streamline your build and development processes using Sitecore SXA, get in touch and speak to one of our Sitecore experts today.