For the majority of websites, the back-end is not too complex.
The majority of websites are powered by WordPress, but there is an entire universe of content management systems to fit the specific needs of website owners – whether they are individuals or businesses.
For specialist needs, many CMS platforms may not to be up to the task – plenty of them still feature outdated capabilities and complicated menu navigation.
This creates an overall poor user experience of CMS platforms.
That’s why for some projects, a tailored back-end approach is the best thing to do.
Yet what actually makes the difference between a bad user experience and a good user experience.
The user experience and design for the back-end of a website is in many ways a different challenge to front-end designs.
That’s because the user experience for front-facing websites tend to be centered on the improvement of conversion rates and button-clicking encouragement.
Whereas for back-end usage should be all about the ease of carrying out tasks.
A quality front-end design can be characterized by convincing users to do something, while a quality back-end design is about assisting users to do things.
The problem is that the majority of standard content management systems simply don’t offer a good user experience and often suffer from feature creep.
But there are many user experience practices to implement in order to help build a better experience.
If the website has to be organized into dropdowns and submenus, then it should be done according to sensible groupings that allow users to find tools quickly in common sense places.
When it comes to designing a content management system, good questions to ask yourself include:
- “How should a button be labeled?”
- “Where would the average user expect a particular tool to be?”
- “Would the average user assume where a particular tool would be?”
Jargon has emerged in all industries and none more so than in tech. It’s alright for developers to use it and understand one another, but it’s an issue if what they’re building is not going to be used by them.
A good suggestion is to not make non-technical users – such as writers, marketers, and editors – look for blog creation tools under an open named ‘content authoring’ or for them to upload images through a ‘media library system.’
Not everyone uses that language. So when building a content management system, use regular language.
A good content management system enables users to do what they need as fast as possible.
Think about someone who doesn’t know too much about how SQL databases work. It’s so much hassle to upload images separately and create manual records written in HTML.
A top-quality content management system designer will look to automate as much of the content process as possible. For example, users shouldn’t have to upload their own thumbnail when they upload a new image.
Also, aspects such as dates and times can be auto-filled, HTML content can be auto-generated, and updates can be installed automatically.
For all micro-tasks, consider whether it is something that could and should be automated. Keep in mind that content management systems are supposed to save us both work and time, not generate more.
Clear and concise
Most of us don’t actually read documentation. We’re scrollers to the end without reading one sentence before clicking ‘accept’ or ‘continue.’
But when we get stuck and look for reference points, they’re all too often lacking.
A well-designed CMS will be able to accommodate and support some documentation to help explain core concepts.
Even consider building in tooltips and hints into the content management system to explain things without the user having to head over to Google to find answers. Keep it in the platform.