When many years ago, being still a child, I took my first steps in the so-called interactive industry the imminent collapse of static web pages basedonly on html and css was pompously announced. Their place was meant to be taken by user friendly content management systems, based mainly on php, allowing administrators and webmasters to build dynamic websites.
The world of internet would become more beautiful than ever before and the construction, modification and management of the websites would finally provide only positive emotions.
By definition, the Content Management System (CMS) is a software that allows a non technical staff or a person with no programming language to easily create, update and extend a website. Therefore, it seems natural desire of creators and people working on the development of these systems to build solutions that fulfill their function in accordance with this definition.
A living website concept
We must remember that a website is not an independent formation but a part of a system, which can be compared to the living body. It should therefore live with this organism, to reflect changes in it. I am not suggesting in any way that we should provide our customers with a fully automated CMS that allows virtually unlimited expansion of the website, in the end 90% of project budgets don’t imply such solutions. We should, however, provide customers with solutions that enable seamless modification or expansion of key information.
Easy adding of new products or services, modifying contact information, filling in new content based on developed templates, dynamic menus that are easy to edit is the absolute minimum for a well-developed CMS. Furthermore, building a dynamic home page would allow the customer to shape the website’s first impression according to current needs.
Agencies’ approach to CMS
Unfortunately, the reality is far different from the assumptions. In my daily work I encounter not only my competitors’ original content management systems, but also the effects of developers work based on the popular open-source systems. I’m really concerned about the trend of building solutions that leave little room for the administrator to act. As a result, site built according to a specific structure and filled with content provided in the initial specification eventually becomes obsolete, and the administrator wanting to make even small changes has to involve a technical person, which often entails additional costs. The interface itself is often built (or extended, in the case of open source solutions) omitting the basic principles of usability, which effectively deters administrators from taking the regular care of a website.
This approach is a way of commitment based on the need and not on choice. It is, in my opinion, not necessarily fair, because it’s contradicting the definition of a CMS. If the client pays for the software that was meant to ease his (as a non-technical person) daily work on the development of his brand image, why does he receive a solution that suppresses this process?
And now I should expect some objections. Because surely the budgets are limited, because deadlines are mostly unrealistic. However, in my opinion, it’s better to build a relationship with a client acting as an expert, who is the guardian of good decisions and suggests a good solution. This approach (in contrast to one I described earlier) is the basis for a long lasting relationship based on a mutual trust.