Like brothers with opposite personalities, sometimes features clash. The expectation is that different pieces of technology’s all work independently, and designing our websites work like a grab bag, the reality is all of those different pieces work together to form a whole. This might be the most important thing to keep in mind when designing your website.
As the saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. In webdesign, there are multiple ways to do similar things, and trying to implement two systems to handle the same type of task can cause problems, but I can see the temptation to do this.
Separate areas of your website will call for different functions. And the first rout many see is using different systems to handle those areas. after all, they’re different areas of the site, what could go wrong! This right here is the biggest cause I see for clients having a bad experience with their CMS. A CMS, by its nature, is designed to manage arrays of content in a homogeneous way, while parsing it out in different clusters depending on the page. Understanding this should drive most, if not all of your decisions about how your site will be laid out. Doing this will also help to provide for a smoother experience for your members, as having a cohesive system will make the site more intuitive to use and search for information.
I get that this sounds like a lot of information, and when it comes to how the back end parces information, maybe a little too much. This is why I would encourage anyone looking for a CMS to bring with them an experience they’d like to have. the details of exactly how that experience is going to be implemented should be worked out together with your tech vendor. They are the experts, after all. Would you tell your doctor how to use a scalpel?
This might sound like you’re being asked to relinquish a lot of control. But next week, when we get into the specifics of what it means to “provide an experience”, you’ll see how this approach ends up giving you more power in shaping how your users interact with your website!