In recent years, more and more websites are offering personalized content for their users. Whether your website includes recommended purchases or client reviews, you may want to consider using a database to keep the information up to date. In this blog, we take a closer look at database driven web design and how it can improve your website user experience.
Database driven websites are a specific type of dynamic website. Traditional websites are non-dynamic – the appearance and content are the same for every user, and in order to change the content, you need to change the page itself. Dynamic webpages may appear different to an individual user, and they can change every time the user logs in, even if you haven’t made any changes to your website.
A very simple example of a dynamic website is a survey. As users click through questions, their answers may lead them to additional questions or allow them to skip over others. For instance, if you’ve used an online doctor’s website, they may ask you to provide details like your age, location, and symptoms. As you answer these questions, the dynamic webpage pulls from a number of additional steps that may follow based on the information you provide.
Database driven websites are a form of dynamic webpages that use databases to update the information a user sees on the site. As the database is updated (manually or through programming), the webpage is updated as well. One place you have likely encountered a database driven website is checking your bank account online. Your balance is constantly updated as debits and credits are applied and transferred to the bank’s website database via computer software.
Database driven websites and other dynamic webpages can be essential to maintaining a website where the information needs to be changed frequently. Can you imagine a bank website that had to be manually updated every time an account balance changed? Some examples of website functions that benefit from being driven through a database include:
Hopefully, the many uses of database driven websites are clear, but how do they work? This is where things get more complicated. Unlike static sites that have content sitting on the page that remains unchanged (unless you change it), database driven website content is housed within a database (think of a more complex spreadsheet).
Don’t get me wrong, there are still some hold outs, and you may come across a non-responsive website every so often. However, if you’re like most users, you quickly click away to find an easier to use site. If your website is still non-responsive, you could be missing out on new clients who find you from their mobile devices. Non-responsive sites are less likely to be found in search, mobile users are more likely to leave the site right away, and even if a mobile user stays on the site, they are less likely to be able to complete their task (making a purchase, scheduling an appointment, contacting you, etc.).
In order to create a database driven website, you need a database to pull from. You can create these from scratch or use software that pulls the information from another location. In order to create a website database, you’ll need to use a programming language, usually Structured Query Language (SQL). This database language is actually fairly easy to learn, but there are also numerous programs and apps available that allow you to create databases without learning a query language. Whichever method you use to create a database, you’ll need to determine what information will be stored there and how that data will be used. To get started:
If you have the time and inclination, learning how to create a database for your website isn’t actually the most complex process. However, if you would rather rely on professionals to set up and maintain your database driven website, you’ve come to the right place. At iKonix Studios, we partner with our clients to create custom websites that promote their brand, exceed user expectations, and look great too. To get started, call our team. We look forward to hearing from you.