Making Content Creation Simple

We’ve been building database driven content managed systems for 15 years now.  Early on we thought it was a good idea to give content creators the power to layout and design their own pages, select their own fonts and choose the colors they wanted.  We would launch a project, train the client on the tools and then sit back congratulating ourselves on an amazing project.  Then a couple months later we would come back to the site and gasp at the destruction.  The site had been vandalized with comic sans fonts in hot pink text and huge images skewed to fit small spaces.   The culprite?  None other than the content creators with too much control over design.

Fast forward a number of years and we have become a bit smarter.   We’ve learned that design decisions need to be made upfront with the client.  These decisions are purposeful and many times not easy.  Once they are made, it is ideal that these complex decisions are then extracted away to make room for content creators to come in and do their magic.  This keeps the process of creating content streamlined and simple as people don’t need to reinvent the wheel and spend time making choices about new layouts, fonts or colors.  Additionally most content creators aren’t comfortable with building websites, so as web developers we can do work upfront giving them the tools they need to do their job quickly and seamlessly.

Good website development is a strange mix of design and technology.  It is a combination of front end design and graphics tied to well thought out code in the back-end that powers the site.  If done right a website can be updated quickly and easily with very little barriers to the process of creating content.  We feel like WordPress is uniquely designed to make this process seamless.  As the design mockups are finalized on a project we are able to build out the framework of the concept within the “theme”.  This theme defines the layouts, colors and custom fields that will be needed for the long term management of the site.  While the theme components are fairly static, they can be very quickly modified in the future if there is a new font needed or a new page layout required.  However these are conscious choices made and approved by the team that fit in the overall strategy and branding of the site.  When done right a well built theme can take away barriers that hold content creators back while meeting your design needs over the long term.

 

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