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A Web Content Management (WCM) Functional Design (FD) can improve your implementations by translating graphic design (wireframes and mockups) into WCM functionality while ensuring a content author-friendly setup. The FD make projects smoother by confirming project scope, standardizing terminology, and getting stakeholders to sign-off on the project. The FD explains the "what" rather than the "how."
As an SDL Tridion customer or professional, it's important to recognize the elements of an SDL Tridion Functional Design or "FD." This guide gives an overview of a typical FD and briefly explains why the sections are important.
An SDL Tridion Functional Design (FD) is document that describes your website features and visual design as well as how the implementation team will set up the SDL Tridion building blocks, including:
The FD describes what the WCM implementation team will build, but not necessarily the technical details or how to build it.
A good FD answers the reporter questions of "who," "what," "where," "how," and "why."
Who has access to the system and how are they authorized to use it? Will the system include automation or processes to make the system easier-to-use for these users or authors?
The Content Model has two parts. The website relationship between Page Types, Regions, and Content Types is based on your design team's wireframes, graphic mock-ups, or other interaction design material. These translate into the SDL Tridion-specific items including Schemas, Component Templates, and Page Templates.Be wary of an FD that skips the website details as these are important to confirm scope, explain website behavior, and help set up Experience Manager, or SDL Tridion's in-context and inline editing GUI.
There are two parts to this question:
These two are related but can differ according to website, content, and page needs.
The FD should also include a description of the SDL Tridion BluePrint design, which is the relationship between Tridion's top-level folders or Publications.
Not called out separately in the above diagram, but the question of when is important to requirements related to sequences, time-of-day, and automation. For example, a FD will may include diagrams to explain the steps in workflow or a description of what automatic actions will trigger when.
A section in the FD should at least reference content strategy documentation such as your content inventory (also known as a content matrix or content audit), a summary of content, pages, and documents for your sites include.
Two reasons make an FD important to your SDL Tridion projects:
Since the FD covers what the implementation will build, it guides several important parts of your SDL Tridion project including:
An invisible but significant cost to skipping an SDL Tridion Functional design is an improper content model. Too often, organizations new to WCM systems or SDL Tridion underestimate the impact schemas, fields, content, and templates have on authors. Having unnecessary schemas and fields can create tangible business costs as seen in the following example.
In the above scenario, near-duplicate schemas create an invisible burden on authors as well as developers. This would include:
The above example is simply illustrative, more schemas is not necessarily a bad WCM design choice.
The biggest impact to a poor content model is resistance to the technology or worse, the implementation team, especially when issues can be avoided by taking a collaborative approach to WCM design and development.
This guide overviewed the what and why of the Functional Design itself. Let's wrap up by addressing questions you might have of the documentation itself.
By explaining the "what" rather than the "how, an SDL Tridion Functional Design (FD) can improve your implementations, ensuring a user-friendly setup based on your website graphic and interaction design. Use the FD to confirm project scope, standardize terminology, and get sign-off on the project.