The usability of many traditional CMSs is poor. Some systems are even inoperable from the user’s point of view. This starts a downward spiral: The more difficult it is to use the CMS, the less it is actually used, quickly leading to outdated content on the websites. Intermittent use lets users get out of practice. Time-consuming and cost-intensive training is unhelpful if the user only occasionally works with the CMS or if its complexity requires insider knowledge that is often poorly documented, if at all.
Why is this so? The idea of a hierarchical site structure borrowed from the file system, together with data storage in relational databases means that content is edited using form fields with magic markup acronyms at hidden places in a deep content hierarchy. Once done, it often requires a separate step of previewing to get an idea of how the content will look on a staging server, often with no possibility to understand how the content will be displayed on other channels such as mobile devices. When more than one editor is working on the content or a relaunch is planned, error-prone coordination often has to be done using traditional means, i.e. by sending emails with attached Word documents and notifications, or by declaring complete sections as “frozen” for other editors. Sometimes, it requires separate staging servers for larger relaunches. This way of working with a CMS often hinders more than it helps.
To exaggerate only slightly, classic CMSs seem to be in two basic categories: Systems loved by developers and systems loved by users. While developers focus on the options to create and enhance internal integrations and the back end, users want the front end to be intuitive and versatile. The ease-of-use requirements of the editors, who are actually using the system and creating value by creating content, often fall short and are addressed very late in the project, if at all.
But focusing on just one of these categories creates alignment issues and communication trouble between the business side and the technical staff. Both are of equal value because both are success factors. To show how technology and users contribute to project success, a hierarchy of demands can be applied to a web application as well.
The pyramid illustrates that the technical aspect is the foundation. But only by providing users with a way to utilize the CMS as efficiently as possible will this lead to business results.
This is why Scrivito puts a lot of effort into creating a great user experience. It has new capabilities to improve the user’s productivity and reduce training time. To make using Scrivito as intuitive as possible, numerous functions are available: From WYSIWYG editing with drag-and-drop to autosaving changes, everything is implemented in a way the user is familiar with from modern web platforms.
Enterprise IT-integrated user management with customizable permissions, roles and approval workflows controls access to Scrivito, and multiple levels of validations ensure the completeness and quality of the content.
CMS Scrivito offers three new concepts for CMS usability, which, above all, simplify its use. The emphasis is on WYSIWYG editing, real-time collaboration within a team, and the smart organization of digital assets.
Scrivito offers a modular way for developers to create content using building blocks called widgets. They are available to editors in the front end and can be modified in WYSIWYG mode, allowing the user to view the final result while working with the CMS. With Scrivito, WYSIWYG refers to the ability to directly edit the layout and content of a page without using commands, specific markup or navigating to a node within a hierarchy. This also works across devices, including previews for mobile devices.
Widgets can not only contain simple content like text, headlines and images but also complete interactive application components such as configurators, dealer searches and more, which can be placed easily on existing or new pages – without any interaction of IT required.
Scrivito simplifies teamwork. The unique working copies feature enables multiple editors to work on website content simultaneously, either collaboratively or independently – no staging servers are needed. It’s like a version control system for content, combined with the ease of use of parallel live editing like in Google Docs.
Potential conflicts are detected by Scrivito and resolved automatically. Live content is always consistent. Users can invite each other to working copies and can edit content in real time, distributed and collaboratively. This awesome feature increases productivity, saves time, and does not require collaborators to work at the same time at the same location. All content can be changed but can only be published by an authorized person. Changes are tracked within a working copy and can be undone through the version history even after publication.
With Scrivito, logos, images, videos, PDFs, and all other types of digital assets are managed using the Content Browser. It allows users to drag and drop digital assets into the CMS, and access and manage existing assets. Users can organize, search, filter, edit, and tag resources.
The Content Browser can be extended by custom filters such as products, semantic tags or other criteria. All content loaded into the Content Browser is immediately distributed by Scrivito’s built-in Content Delivery Network, and images are automatically scaled to various sizes for cross-device use in order to minimize page loading times. The Content Browser is comfortable to use and saves a lot of time.
Training time is a measurable success criterion for the usability of a CMS. E-learning platforms1 make it clear how time-consuming it can be to introduce a beginner-level user to a CMS.
Scrivito users need less than 10 minutes and only 4 lectures in total as they do not need to remember cryptic commands and already know how to work with Scrivito because it relies on common usage paradigms already familiar to web users.
This blogpost is an excerpt from the “Measurable Success” white paper. You can download it for free to learn about the 10 most relevant factors by which the success of a CMS can be measured.
¹ Source: www.udemy.com, 2019