Flexibility vs. ease of editing in a well built CMS

Most clients want some way of being able to edit their new website, but many don’t have the skills or want to wade into lines of code to do this.

Some clients are web savvy and are perhaps budding web designers themselves – these types of clients don’t mind getting their sleeves rolled up when it comes to working on their website – but by and large this is not the case.

When designing a website, I will fit into the CMS (Content Management System) in a way that is sympathetic to how their site functions and content is displayed. But there is a see-saw between how much a client can accomplish once they get their hands on the site, and how easy it is to carry out this editing.

For example –

if a certain page has 2 text areas with 3 different pictures scattered throughout – one way to build this would be to create the whole page in one content block. This would allow full flexibility to the client to change the text areas to 3, or add another picture, wipe it all out completely in etc. But with this greater flexibility comes a greater danger of changing/breaking the page to the point where the client becomes frustrated and unable to fix on their own.

If we know the page will always have 2 text blocks and 3 images – then separating all this out into separate blocks will mean it’s bomb proof – two text blocks, and two dropdown selectors to select the two images will be a breeze for the client. This also means changing to layout of the page has now become impossible for the client, without going back into the templates and reprogramming the page.

Working with the clients likely ability and chances of real change needed to the website, I can then gauge and tailor the CMS to suit.