Using Component-Based Design to Enable Flexible, Personalized Experiences

March 2, 2021
Evan Prout

When it comes to online experiences, they must be able to adapt to feel personable to each individual consumer. Here are several ways component-based design enable more flexible, personalized experiences.

UX & Design

While the progression towards a high-tech world is promising, people crave more high-touch experiences.

That’s where personalization comes in.

To implement personalization successfully, it requires harmony between content, technology and, most importantly, design to deliver those flexible, personalized experiences. Teams can’t just slap personalization over outdated technology or design, they must understand that successful personalization requires design that is flexible and anticipates dynamic content.

Enter component-based design.

What is component-based design?

Component-based design – commonly referred to as ‘atomic design’, a ‘design system’, or ‘material design’ – is a best practice and organized system for building a website, application, or any digital product in pieces. The pieces are page elements like a header, search form, text blocks, buttons, etc. When structured correctly, you get a library of components, like shown below, designed to handle and structure different types, variations, and combinations of content.

How does component-based design enable more flexible, personalized experiences?

When it comes to online experiences, they must be able to adapt to feel personable to each individual consumer. Here are several ways component-based design enables that experience:

Enables marketers to use real customer data

Designers are focused on creating solutions for humans. And to make an experience more pleasant for a visitor, it’s always beneficial to see something from their perspective. So, what better perspective than to use their very own data? This can be anywhere from content specific to their geo-location to a simple greeting with their name once logged in, and beyond.

Makes the customer journey more intuitive

For many online businesses, a purchase, form submission, or inquiry is the ultimate goal. If it’s messy or impersonalized, all of the traffic you drive to your site simply does not matter. Components are designed to anticipate how parts may be personalized in the context of the user journey. For example, if they looked at a product you may send a 10% discount code or personalize to their email the next day to entice them to make a purchase.

A/B testing and experimenting

With component-based design, marketers can choose which components to use on a page, where to place them, and what styles to apply – enabling a limitless number of possible page designs with even the modest of libraries. Marketers can perform A/B testing to identify the most successful mix of components on a page and optimize components accordingly. They can also compare different variations of the same component to understand which performs better such as a personalized homepage banner versus a general homepage banner.

Robust control of personalization at scale

Companies can quickly scale personalization using component-based design. By introducing personalization to one block, teams can quickly test and learn how to strategically personalize different parts of the customer journey. Between AI-driven and rule-based personalization, marketers can reduce the management and manual effort of having to guess and update what they think customers want to see. For example, a component may allow a marketer to display personalized recommendations based on a search query or viewing a particular product.

Agility and speed to market of personalized experiences

Finally, Designers, developers, and marketers can make changes to pages and elements in minutes to respond to an organization’s or users’ needs. When teams become familiar with their component library, it’s often possible for teams to skip formal visual design processes altogether. A quick landing page sketch can be agreed upon in a meeting, and a page can be created and published for review without requiring a developer in the same day. Or for something that would traditionally be more complicated, such as implementing a new brand style guide, can be easily applied without a huge uplift with CSS changes.


Outside of best practice design, personalization requires a deep understanding of your audience. By understanding your users and their goals, teams can be intentional in creating their component library. Note that the biggest factor in component-based design is defining scope. From determining boundaries when defining components to more robust training and documentation for how to use them, componentized websites do cost more initially to design and build than traditional templated sites.

And as with any web project, new requirements may emerge over time that require additional components. But when an existing component is enhanced or a new component is added to the library, the web properties leveraging them become more powerful and robust since they can be used and modified to personalize on any new or existing page.

Personalization is human, it’s effective, and it’s the direction the web is moving towards. By incorporating component-based design best practices into your web properties, teams can quickly realize the value of it as it relates to personalization. It allows teams to think more strategically and work in more agile ways. Between ongoing optimizations and empathizing with user needs, organizations can better personalize and meet the ever-changing needs of its customers and the goals of the organization.