Build for every user: How Ed Cupaioli focuses on UX with CloudCannon

When Ed Cupaioli found CloudCannon's visual editing on static sites, he realized that he’d been building websites the wrong way for ten years.

Ed Cupaioli

Ed Cupaioli
Web Consultant — Ed Cupaioli LLC

Ed Cupaioli got started on static site generators while working for the Democratic National Convention between 2015 and 2018. Using Jekyll as the frontend representative of the engineering team, he maintained and developed new features for the enterprise-level website of the Democratic Party. During this time, he also built a reusable website template for rapid response microsites.

Now, as a freelance developer and CloudCannon Partner building non-profit and e-commerce sites, Ed focuses on user experience and conversion optimization. With CloudCannon on hand to provide a fast and intuitive editing experience and to simplify site migrations, Ed is able to build sites he’s proud of and hand them over to editors, content teams, and business owners, knowing that his clients will be able to manage their content themselves.

Ed’s site for the DC Gay Flag Football League, below, makes use of CloudCannon’s Data Editor for community microblogging. Teams’ wins and losses are calculated automatically with Liquid.

“This is so much better!”

Because Ed takes a user-first approach to his websites — whether they’re enterprise clients, e-commerce sites, or simple landing pages — he takes great care to configure CloudCannon sites and builds for specific clients.

And when he first saw CloudCannon’s visual editing, he knew that he’d be able to provide an even more intuitive and user-friendly CMS for future clients:

Once I discovered the Visual Editor I was like, 'Oh man, this is so much better!' And making component-based pages is such a great way to build.

Ed’s recent e-commerce sites, Tolenas Winery and Republic Restoratives Distillery, are great examples of his foresight in working with relational data and optimizing for user success. Working with existing designs for each site, Ed built and configured responsive Jekyll sites for each business. Among other tasks, he added their respective e-commerce providers, and connected everything to CloudCannon for users to add and manage their content, pricing, stock, and reservations.

And because CloudCannon handles relational data so well, he was able to build additional features to showcase his clients’ products: a cocktail recipe section to complement Republic Restoratives’ range of spirits, and a ‘new release’ section for Tolenas Winery.

How CloudCannon enables a great user experience

In order to help his clients, Ed writes custom documentation ensuring that they know exactly how to achieve their website goals, and he also leverages CloudCannon’s flexible configuration to help his users. Ed’s confident that CloudCannon can give both him and his users the reliable developer experience and the intuitive user experience they each need. From specific instructions in comment fields and callouts he’s added to site dashboards, through to automatic calculations, linked relational data, and page previews, he’s enjoying the development process.

And when he needs assistance, or wants to add a new feature? CloudCannon’s support is right there to help:

CloudCannon’s support was just incredible, even though I was working with non-profit clients. That meant everything to me — that you guys actually respond and help with small issues on support.

Migrating to CloudCannon: ✅ ✅ ✅

When Forestry sunset its CMS, Ed was faced with the task of finding a replacement for his users to continue editing their static sites. Wanting to ensure a seamless transition for his users while adding functionality, he evaluated a range of tools. Ultimately, he decided that CloudCannon not only met his users’ current needs but also offered additional features that could benefit users in the long run:

I looked at it from a holistic viewpoint and it was like, 'CloudCannon’s got it. They’ve been in business for many years; they have a partner program; I can separate the billing for clients. And they have this wonderful Visual Editor that I can customize.' It was just like, 'Check, check, check.'

Ed worked closely with his clients and CloudCannon to ensure a smooth transition, providing training and support to his users throughout the process. In the end, the transition was a success, and Ed's users were able to continue editing their static sites without any disruption to their workflow.

One CMS to support them all

While Ed has primarily built with Jekyll in the past, he’s very interested in using other SSGs in the future, depending on what his clients need. Knowing that CloudCannon supports a wide range of SSGs, and that his expertise with the CMS will easily transfer regardless of which build tool he uses, was another drawcard for him:

That’s the other reason I really chose CloudCannon. Because the CloudCannon people I spoke with were just like, 'Yes, we support all the major SSGs, and we encourage you to use whatever you want.'

When it comes down to it, giving users the freedom to make their own choices is the ultimate user experience — whether that’s how they edit their content, how they build their pages, or even which static site generator they use. And that’s why Ed is so excited about working with CloudCannon.

About Ed Cupaioli

Ed Cupaioli is a one-person web department with 10 years experience embedded with marketing, digital, and communications teams. He takes a determinedly user-first approach, driven by data, and works as a frontend developer, UX researcher, designer, and product manager.

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