Simple Content Management
1 June 2017
Behind every organizational website, be it a desktop-based or mobile website, there is a Content Management System (CMS) which enables edge-users access to organizational content. Usually, much thought is invested in workers' UX and substantial resources are invested in design, user reviews etc in order to generate optimal, meaningful interactions with edge users. Yet, while edge users enjoy a user friendly website, content managers usually experience websites quite differently.
This phenomenon might not seem critical since content managers are well-versed in dealing with content managing systems: navigating through website content trees, incorporating complex graphics and editing code if needed. While the prevailing opinion is that most resources should be allocated to benefiting most workers. The handful of content managers seems irrelevant or at least insignificant. Nevertheless, recently content management processes have been going through some changes.
The shift from 'Intranet' to 'Digital Workplace' is also manifested in the transition from single/central content management to sharing within a group of content managers.
It is highly important to website and community managers that workers visit the website and are provided useful quality content with added value. The content is uploaded to the website by a vast network of content managers. Content managing is usually not their sole position; they are therefore not proficient content managers. Usually, content managers are merely workers sharing and uploading content to a website dedicated to a specific organizational or professional field in addition to their actual position as HR managers or organizational security officials etc. Each worker is requested to contribute their content segment in order to provide workers with the aforementioned rich content experience.
What will happen if and when these supposed content managers need to deal with a content management system that is usually used by skilled content managers? Will they know how to operate the various components? Will they persist in their uploading? They probably won't.
So, what do we do? Most of us know how to advertise content via our Facebook account. This is a simple and intuitive activity. This is a substantially different editing experience than content editing in a CM system. Use social networks' content editing systems as inspiration for creating an organizational content management system which is as clear and user friendly as possible.
How can this be accomplished?
By identifying central content managers' work processes, which are usually characterized by two main components: uploading new content and performing various editing activities with existing content (corrections, removing outdated content, etc). Examining the editing process in its entirety and charting activities that require cognitive effort from content editors and is therefore perceived as too complex to execute.
Hereby is an example of a simplification of these complex activities.
Effort: Locating the area in the site's content tree in which you wish to create a content item
Possible Solution: Creating a landing page for content managers that contains a feature which allows choosing desired location for new page from a list paired with a "create new item" button can save the content manager the arduous navigation through various sub-websites and website navigation tree.
Effort: Adapting pictures to the content template
Possible solution: Creating a picture gallery pre-cut in fitting sizes for CM use or adding an application which enables automatic adaption.
Effort: Locating the data within the page- where does one put the title? Where does the text go?
Possible solution: creating content templates paired with a micro-copy, short instructions similar to those given when filling in an e-form: insert title here, insert text here etc.
Unskilled Content Managers, Facebook and CMS all share an obvious common denominator: simplicity. Of course, a user friendly content management system is only one aspect of engagement and UX among others, on which I will hopefully elaborate in further articles.