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Lift your customer journey with rich web front-ends

Vegard Ottervig on

One pager apps, React, Angular. How can rich web front-ends solve your pressing business problems?

The World Wide Web is ever evolving, and the static, handmade HTML sites of the 90s are of course long gone. The dynamic, service rich digital experiences of today and tomorrow are something most brands and organisations are trying to opt into, but in order to do so you have to have a basic understanding on rich front-ends.

So what are rich web front-ends, and how can they help boost your customer journey?

Make sure you choose the right CMS in the process!

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What are rich web front-ends?

A "front-end" designates the framework for building web pages and user interfaces for web applications. A front-end implements the structure, design, behaviour, and animation of every element you see on-screen when you visit and interact with websites, web applications, or mobile apps. Modern front-end frameworks rely on three core technologies: HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

In practice, a front-end influences the way you interact with a given web page or web application. Let's make a comparison: In the old days you clicked a link, were sent to a site with a form, clicked "submit," before being sent to a "thank you" site or something similar. This approach is what we call "request based." Today, thanks to the development of rich front-end frameworks, everything functions on the same page. Every request processes in the background, delivering a seamless experience at the front to you.

The constant evolving rich web front-ends are essentially making traditional websites into a more app-like user experience, where all actions and elements work on only "one page." New solutions to functionality doesn't demand that you load new pages, as actions happen instantly. Try to imagine Facebook, where you read the news feed and interact with posts. The liking, commenting, or sharing happen instantly, on one page, without you being sent to a confirmation page.

See also: 12 ways Enonic can help you save time on daily tasks »

Examples of popular front-end frameworks

There are several popular web front-end frameworks available for developers nowadays, and here are the most popular ones:

Angular: Platform for building mobile and desktop web applications. Angular is a TypeScript-based open-source full-stack web application framework led by the Angular Team at Google and by a community of individuals and corporations.

React: A JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It is maintained by Facebook and a community of individual developers and companies. React can be used as a base in the development of single-page or mobile applications.

Vue: Open-source JavaScript framework for building user interfaces and single-page applications.

Ionic: Open-source software development kit for hybrid mobile app development. Ionic allows you to build cross platform mobile, web, and desktop apps with one shared code base and open web standards.

Don't miss: What makes Enonic your choice?

How rich web front-ends can boost your customer journey

You might have taken the hint already, but richer front-ends will obviously make it easier for you to construct a smoother, faster and more functionality-rich experience for your customers or visitors. You can boost your customer journey in several ways, but here are two wide technological areas you can utilise (remember, they are not mutually exclusive!):

Progressive web apps: A progressive web app, or PWA for short, combines the features of native apps with traditional websites. A PWA thus makes a smooth and painless transition between whatever platform you’re on, wherever you are.

With PWAs you can design a holistic, thoughtful, and purposeful customer journey—taking all the customer steps scenarios and corresponding channels into consideration. A digital experience shouldn't be limited to a full-blown desktop, and neither only cater to the mobile screen. A great experience makes every device and bandwidth the right one, and removes every potential stick in the wheel from the user experience equation.

Headless: Delivering the same content to a wide array of channels and platforms may sound like a bother, but with the headless approach you can deliver content from a single database to whatever channel you choose. A rich web front-end needs headless content in order for you to manage texts and relevant content in the different applications.

Even better, with the hybrid CMS approach you get the full package: You can send headless content to smart watches and IoTs, while at the same time maintaining a "traditional" website with all the rich functionality offered by the popular front-end frameworks.

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Essentially there's no pure websites anymore. You need to manage phrases, banners, etc. that are no longer a part of the traditional website, and rich web front-ends can help you do just that.

For example: The Norwegian insurance company Gjensidige offers various types of insurances. Their site not only showcases the facts, it also includes signature options, videos, forms, and a dynamic box with sliders to calculate the price. This is great user experience, enhancing the customer journey with all the questions, answers, and follow-up actions in one place.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a customer journey?

The touchpoints and overall experience for a customer—from the first task solving to buying and recommending your product.

Why is a customer journey important?

It identifies potential friction, dead ends, and issues with the current state, and allows you to identify and enhance positive customer experiences.

How can a customer journey help my business?

It can help you identify useless or obsolete touchpoints, and the ones generating most revenue—thus cutting cost and generating more income.

How do I map the customer journey?

Perform an inventory of all your digital and analogue channels, offerings, products, and services, then place them according to where in the sales process they belong.

Topics: 
customer journey
cms
front-end
digital experiences
single-page application