Should the CMS only be used by web professionals

Posted on by jordanhaines

Should the CMS only be used by web professionals?, This was a question that came up in a recent conversation with a friend of mine that is a designer who had issues with a client having major problems breaking the CMS.

Other issues included clients uploading incorrect sized images and text that was not fit for purpose.

I had to point out that clients unless shown how to use the CMS will not know what they can upload and what they can not. Clients also unless told will just want to copy and paste text from there text document to the CMS and expect it to work.

So to answer the question Should the CMS only be used by web professionals? I have to strongly disagree. The challenge is creating a design that lends itself to the CMS you are using and being able to cope with what the client throws at it.

The design and CMS need to work together, this will reduce the chance of the client breaking the website. As web developers we need to also fool prove the CMS and think about the way we code our designs for the CMS. For example if I was using WordPress as the CMS and the client want to upload featured images for each post, which is a perfectly reasonable request. I could just add the tag that would place the image code for the featured image. This leaves the prospect that if the client uploaded a massive image then this could break this site.

Now if we think about this, is this really the best way? I would say not. The way I would do it would be to allow the user to upload the featured image but then in the theme file only get the featured image url and hard code the image html and then style the image with CSS. That way the user can upload any size of image and the website design will not break.

As for the text on the CMS as developers we have to configure our editors, if we can to format the text in the correct way. If we cannot then we have to force the styles on to the content area using CSS so if any rogue styles do creep in then they are not added.

These are just two suggestions on how to make a CMS fool prove so clients can use the CMS and not break the website.

The final point that goes along when answering the question Should the CMS only be used by web professionals? Is I like developing websites, I do not want to spend most of my day copying and pasting text from one document to the CMS and uploading images. If i have to do this then I feel that I have failed in providing a good user experience for the client which was what I or the company was paid to do in the first place.

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