Your website is as good as what you put into it. You may have built around the end-user experience, but have you considered the backend UX?
By ‘back-end’ I mean the bit that visitors don’t see, but editors have to deal with every day. As websites become more complex, and testing and personalisation mean more content variations, the backend UX becomes almost as important as the visitor UX. The backend is responsible for storing and organising data, as well as ensuring that everything on your website actually works. When back-end UX is an after-thought, quality of content suffers and there is a lack of consistency across the brand look and feel.
Like you, our clients look to respond with agility to the economic environment and customer needs. Setting your site up with both a functional and user focused back-end, you can respond at speed, whilst maintaining the integrity of your brand.
This article aims to help you to understand the best ways to empower your editors, and to avoid Sitecore’s top 5 website killers.
Prototype the Site and Experience Editor
Involving marketing and IT at the prototyping stage can help you make the most of the Sitecore Experience Editor functionality - and avoid site-killer #1 No one thought through how the site will really be used and #4 Thinking that marketing (or IT) doesn't need to be involved.
Content governance is one of the largest issues faced by our clients. When businesses build large, complex sites, content management and maintenance is often an after-thought. When you neglect to think about how the site will be used, it becomes difficult to realise the simplicity and functionality of the Experience Editor.
Avoid this by first building a fully-functioning prototype, that an be presented as a business case to C-level management in six steps:
- Wire-frame: Describe the use of real-estate on the page to emphasise the importance of specific elements. (Tip: Don’t include too many images as this muddies discussions on design).
- Outline Components and Containers: At this stage, the content contributor should be considered – “How will this component be edited?”.
- Design: Produce designs in Photoshop, or similar – covering all sizes and devices including desktop, tablet and mobile.
- Prototype your Design: Produce a clickable ‘working’ version of the site in Axure or similar, that shows how the site will work. Prototypes are much quicker (and cheaper) to adjust.
- Prototype the Experience Editor: Examine the way the Experience Editor will be used and prototype this before coding it. The prototype will demonstrate how text might be added, how images will appear and how your chosen container designs will look. This stage will quickly expose challenges the editor may have in managing content.
- Programming (Sitecore & .NET); Introducing Custom Settings and Setting Responsibilities: At the final stage of the process, you can create custom component controls that enable you to control the dialogues and layouts available to your editors.
Commissioning Translation from the Experience Editor
Initiating translation workflows from within Sitecore can be one of the most important steps for a Global company – and can help tackle site killers #2: The site doesn’t support a global organisation and #5: Thinking that the site is “done” after it launches.
Only 26.3% of Internet users are English speakers. This explains the growing necessity for companies, that wish to expand globally, to be able to translate their content on their website into different languages. And, despite localisation typically costing less than 1% of the total investment in a site build, only 66% of Fortune 500 retail companies have translated their website. Translation success therefore equals competitive edge.
Whilst the initial translation of changes is relatively easy - it’s the ongoing translation of changes that burdens your editors.
By integrating an external translator (such as LanguageWire), editors working in the English version can commission new translation projects directly from within the Experience Editor. The translations are first processed in the translation memory to check for the parts that have already been translated and the ‘delta’, what’s missing, is sent to a human translator. Once completed, the finalised translations will be dropped straight back into the Sitecore translation workflow ready for approval and submission.
Our work with global security firm G4S, which has over 120 multilingual sites, ensured that one central editor could quickly switch between different sites and translate pages without having to re-learn editing skills.
Give Editors access to External Media Assets
If the only system you’re running is the website, then the media library inside the Content Management System may be sufficient. However, if you’re running a more complex ecosystem with CRM, ERP, PIM and other external systems, you’ll probably not want to commit all your media assets to the CMS. Centralising the assets in a Digital Assets Management System, DAM, such as Adam or Celum creates a central repository and a ‘single source of truth’.However, if you do that, you might leave your site editors importing content from the DAM to the CMS, doubling effort and creating potential issues with versioning.
So, address the site killer: #4: Thinking that marketing (or IT) doesn’t need to be involved and #5: Thinking that the site is “done” after it launches by
- Access the DAM from Sitecore: Allow your editors to access the DAM direct from the Experience editor. Adding assets from an external DAM should be as smooth as using the Sitecore Media Library.
- Managing DAM assets from Sitecore: The editor should be able to perform all tasks associated with the assets such as tagging, sorting, filtering and other options available in the DAM, direct from the Sitecore Experience editor
Your website is as good as what you put into it; don’t put it in the back of your mind once it is originally set up. It is very important to continue developing your website to keep up with the demands of an ever changing digital environment.
If you’re interested in finding out how Nemetos could help your business to either implement or optimise your Sitecore solution, please get in touch. We're always happy to talk about what we do, why, and how.