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Pre-conference Workshop: Training the CMS: Building a Better Authoring Experience

About the Talk

April 22, 2015 8:30 AM

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN

Nothing brings IA, design, and content strategy to life like launching a shiny new site: teasers fit neatly without any ellipses, images are cropped perfectly for different screen sizes, and related content is wonderfully relevant. But after a few months, things start to slip: headlines are weak, teasers don't tease, and article bylines are pasted into the Body even though there's a separate Author field.

What happened? I wrote a training document, but it's like no one even read it! Well, guess what: they probably didn't. Segregating content guidelines into a separate document is a great way to make sure no one besides me sees them. If we want site administrators and authors to remember how to write the headlines or what information to include in the teasers, we have to put the content guidelines where they'll see them: inside the CMS.

In this workshop we'll explore how to improve the authoring experience for the people who are creating and maintaining content in the CMS after the site is built. We'll talk about how to name and organize fields, and work through exercises that help us think like our authors so we can write help text that lets them do their jobs well. Most importantly, we'll learn how to communicate the information needed for ongoing support of structured content, information architecture, and design.

Session Takeaways

  • Identify gaps in content training that can be addressed through improving the CMS authoring experience.
  • Write field names and help text that help authors create content that meets the needs of the IA, design, and content strategy plans.
  • Figure out ways to work content training into existing website development processes.

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