The CMS Revolution: Bringing UX Designers and Content Specialists Together
User experience (UX) designers are responsible for crafting functional and accessible digital environments that are user-friendly. First, let’s explore the term ‘user’. ‘User’ generally represents the audience of people who interact with a website on the front-end - but are these specific ‘users’ the only people interacting with a website from this perspective? Not entirely.
Content Management Systems (CMS) are being used now more than ever before. The group of people who operate these systems can also rightfully be called users. But these users are those who interact with a website from behind the scenes, enriching it with its necessary information. These people are often who we refer to as Content Specialists, whose task it is to update, populate and manage content on a daily - and sometimes hourly - basis.
As users whose contribution is key to a website’s maintenance process, Content Specialists need to be considered throughout the User Experience design process as well. Ideally, UX designers work in conjunction with Content Specialists to create digital experiences that not only look and function properly, but also address the need for efficiency and flexibility when it comes to content management efforts.
So, UX designers and Content Specialists, it’s time to sit down down together and discuss some important ways in which your two fields converge.
- Responsive Design’s Impact on Content
When it comes to responsive design, it’s important to understand how the selection, placement and rendering of content may change due to responsiveness. UX designers and Content Specialists should work together to create an experience that provides relevant, user-friendly content across all devices. Content Management Systems offer the possibility of creating unique modules to incorporate into selected breakpoints, making the web experience successful no matter the environment the user is in. UX designers and Content Specialists should consider all of the different content-related scenarios that may arise after the website is launched, and use the CMS’s features to their advantage.
- Planning for Lack of Content
UX designers and Content Specialists should connect to create a flexible experience where the absence of specific content would not jeopardize design or user experience. What does this mean exactly? For example, an Events section might be highly populated one month, while the next month there may not be as many events to add. Working together to create a digital experience that lends itself well to high and low volumes of content is the ideal way of approaching this type of obstacle.
- Updating Content
It is important to consider the different ways content may be changed and updated long after the site’s launch. For example, having no company awards at the moment does not mean there won’t be a need to showcase them in the future. This is why UX designers need to design with all potential elements and scenarios in mind - so that Content Specialists won’t have difficulties adding content down the line.
- Modular Content vs. Templated
When using a CMS, pages are structured by combining different modules, widgets or content blocks. A template, in this instance, is defined as a set grouping of these elements, with a unique layout and functionality, satisfying many clients’ needs. However, it is sometimes best for a website to hold a high degree of malleability, and for Content Specialists to have the ability to change content as their needs change as well. A Modular Content approach takes the templated nature out of web development and introduces an “on demand” feature, making content specialists the creators of pages based on their customized selection of different types of content. UX designers need to consider what approach works best for the larger needs of the project and design according to its demands.
Keeping these things top-of-mind will allow UX designers and Content Specialists to work together, and essentially, create front-end experiences that are beneficial for every type of ‘user’.