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Discovery & User Experience

Real Questions from Real People: part 3

Continuing in our series of questions we’ve been asked about our impending website migration. This might be my favorite question yet.

Q: How are you going to stay on top of all the “page owners” to make sure we really do our part?

image of woman holding five kittens

Did someone say “like herding cats”?
(image credit: flickr/dugspr)

A: I’m so glad you asked! I have a few thoughts on that, and I’m also happy to hear from any of the aforementioned page owners if you have some ideas as well.

  • This one is important to me and drives much of my planning: By making it easier for the page owners to do what they need to do. The new content-management system will be more up-to-date than the old Content Manager, and should not cause some of the problems we’ve seen over the past few years (the recent incompatibility with IE10 being one of them). If we all get to spend less time troubleshooting and chasing down “bugs” we will have more time to do the actual work of updating and maintaining the content on our site. Since Drupal is an open-source system, we have a larger community (worldwide!) working to catch bugs and issues as they arise, and figure out how to fix them – no more relying on “Anne will try to figure it out and then go ask Garett” for every problem. 🙂
  • Relatedly, we hope to be able to provide better training and documentation than we have in the past. With a system that offers fewer functionality “surprises” we’ll be able to spend less time focusing on quirks and foibles, and more time working with page owners/content creators on best practices and potential efficiencies. I also hope to adopt more of a “train the trainer” model, create a helpful style guide, and offer better documentation/help files in general.
  • Drupal makes it easier to create structured content. This has two implications: it makes our content easier to maintain and reuse (e.g. writing a piece of content and then including it in two different locations on the site), and it makes content easier for our users – faculty and students – to find on the site. If your content is easier to maintain and you know it’s being found and used, it’s much easier to get your web work done!
  • On my end, I plan to implement a more structured editorial calendar. This will make it easier for me to help you make sure your content is reviewed on a regular basis and updated as appropriate. I’ll also be able to review things like site accounts and editing permissions, academic-calendar issues (perhaps dropping a note to those who’ve published orientation-related content in the past to remind them it’s time to post this year’s info, for example), and so on. I don’t anticipate or want a workflow model that requires every page to pass through my editorial hands before it’s published – at least not until cloning techniques are perfected so I can be on the job 24/7! (and frankly, not even then!) – but I will be able to keep a closer eye on things and be more proactive in offering help and guidance.
  • Finally, better communication with page owners is going to be important. Anyone with editing permissions on the new site will automatically be subscribed to the CM Users listserv (which will magically evolve into a Drupal Users listserv – ta-da!). This will remain a low-volume list that won’t overwhelm anybody’s inbox, and will enable DUX to stay connected with everyone creating content on the site with updates, tips & tricks, best practices, and other important information. I’m definitely interested in hearing from page owners as well, and would love to see this list become more of a community – with suggestions, observations, and questions from a wide range of content creators. I think we can do this and still keep the email volume low, but I’m also happy to entertain other ideas for how to communicate.

If you have questions, thoughts, or ideas about this topic, please leave a comment on this blog post – or get in touch with me directly via email, Lync, phone, or standing between me and the diet Coke machine and not letting me appease my addiction until I’ve heard what you have to say!

poster advertising a cat-herding service with headline "Git Along Lil' Kitties!"

image credit: flickr/RichardBowen

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