CMS Usability: 10 Tips to Consider (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the previous post on CMS Usability. In the previous post we had touched upon usability issues revolving around CMS Dashboard, Search, and Content Authoring Forms among others.

6)    CMS Login: Single Sign on or the ability to login to CMS using your desktop credentials is a must-have requirement for content authors.    Even though it is a simple feature, it has a great importance in ensuring a satisfactory user experience.

Most of the content authors do not use CMS solutions on a regular basis. They may need it once a month or sometimes even less than that. It is very likely that they will forget their CMS user id/passwords. The inability to use the CMS solution will cause more barriers in terms of the acceptance of the CMS solution.

7)    CMS WYSIWIG Editor: “WYSIWIG” means “What you see is what you get”.  However, most of the time, it does not meet business expectations.

Users generally receive content in word documents, ppt or pdf files which they need to paste in WYSIWIG editor. While doing the copy/paste, content formatting usually goes wrong and users need to tweak around with the HTML code to resolve these issues. It is always good to apply your website CSS (expand) to WYSIWIG editor which limits the number of styles and helps novice content authors to do the editing.

8)    Content Approval Process: The content approvers are generally senior people in the organization such as product managers, marketing managers or corporate communications team. It is important to evaluate and consider content approver’s CMS experience as well. The ability to preview and approve the content using approval emails is generally appreciated by the business community.

9)    Release only the Finished Product: There is usually a strong push to do the bare minimum and release to users. However, this can have effects on CMS acceptance as it does not meet the necessary usability requirements for users. This does not mean that you should not engage with your business users till the very late stage of the project. You must engage with the business proxy on a continual basis and show him or her the on-going improvements and solicit feedback on business scenarios.

10)    Shield Users from Technical Complexities: Your CMS product can be powerful, complex and equipped with many cool functions. However, many times, users don’t care about these functions and instead want a simple content editing tool. Because of this, avoid using complex technical terms and help business users to adopt the new solution.

CMS tools are chosen to improve content authoring experience and lack of CMS usability will make it hard for business users to accept it. I am sure you may have interesting experiences and perspectives to share on this subject and we would love to hear them.

Amar Surjit

Senior Architect, Virtusa. Amar brings with him over 11 years of experience in IT consulting. He has worked with a variety of clients from different industry verticals. Over the years, Amar has architected large-scale solutions ranging from Enterprise Portals, Web Content and Document management systems, complex integrations and bespoke J2EE, and Microsoft .Net based solutions. Amar’s core competencies include Solution Architecture, Agile delivery, IT consulting & Strategy, Public, Telecom and Transport sector, Major software design & development. Amar is a graduate in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

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