When I began contracting for Polaris Industries, they’d been a year into migrating all of their digital properties from their previous platform, Genesis, to Episerver. A single developer had been assigned the daunting task of curating templates and content blocks and building an Epi pattern library. Within a few months of this being in process, the library had ballooned into the hundreds in a cumbersome and ill-documented, massive repository. It was so hard to sift through, it made it easier for developers to create new styles and blocks instead of finding existing ones to re-use, and this compounded the problem exponentially.
Having produced the Valspar pattern library for 70 different branded sites only a year prior, I went on to champion atomic design (a metaphor coined by developer Brad Frost to explain modular design,) within the digital department (see presentation here.) The goal was to help stakeholders understand how applying this methodology could reduce the never-ending block hell, as they liked to refer to it, to a very manageable number of smart, scale-able modular patterns. After I got the major players on board, we used a few landing page projects from the digital content team as benchmark, and dedicated a few sprints to identify major patterns and stand up a set of live-code, reusable modules.
Once we proved this out to the company, I coached the visual design team and turned them loose to continue the work in a live-code pattern repository that continues to grow and evolve to this day. To avoid break-downs in the rendering of legacy content, older blocks were preserved but eventually retired in favor of the more economical, smarter, atomic patterns which also helped keep CSS files manageable and lean, while ensuring more cross-brand and cross-platform compatibility.
Atomic Design Pattern Library
(UX strategist, spearheaded the initiative + trained visual designers)
behind the scenes
Standing up a brand-agnostic proof of concept required designing an interface that worked quite differently for two distinct user personas: the content manager and the developer. Quick wireframe iterations were followed by live code prototyping directly in Episerver using real users to validate the results. This proved out the advantages of leveraging atomic design for the new pattern library, and got all teams on board.
People at Polaris said
I worked with Alfonso on an ecommerce team for a little over a year. From the moment he joined the team, Alfonso was ready to take on any challenge that came his way. He is a true leader in a business and user experience sense. Alfonso doesn't let tools define him, but he instead uses tools in innovative ways to solve problems for users. He mentored me for over a year and truly shaped the designer I am today. I would work with him again in a heartbeat. I would recommend him to anyone who wants to think in new ways, and create effective experiences for all users.Barb Krueger Ux & Visual Designer
Alfonso is one of the most talented user experience professionals that I've had the opportunity to work with. He truly understands UX is not just about shiny designs, but more about taking the time to have customer empathy, solve their pain points and deliver compelling experiences. Alfonso was also instrumental in helping push the team toward a true agile framework by supporting the team through user validation research, guerrilla testing and driving lean UX practices. He is a product managers best friend.Robert Mews E-Commerce Product Manager