Sunday, January 28, 2007

Digging deeper into CMS requirements (#2: Management Requirements)

This is the second post about digging deeper into content management requirements. See also

I meant to write some more and original stuff that's floating around inside my head these days, but the weekend was spent in a winter resort with work (we tried kiting, snow rafting, ruled the after-ski and had a great time otherwise).

I'm a bit worn out at the moment, so here's a quick paste from what I've written on CMS requirements earlier, detailing out the parts I've put in the category management requirements.

Management Requirements

The person or persons who will be spending the most time on the web-site are no doubt the ones responsible for managing the online content, be it a company clerk, a webmaster or a chief information/content/knowledge officer. If this user does not find the CMS practical and usable, the content will quickly stagnate, and site traffic drop.

Creation

For the authors, the most important functionality of the CMS is the composition of articles. This is where content is assembled. Advanced composition features a WYSIWIG-editor, spell checking, insertion of images and hyperlinks and the ability to create tables, all this in an efficient and user-friendly fashion (not like the way Blogger's editor is agitating me right now with its crappy undo-functionality).

Publishing

Publishing is the process of taking the content from the author and making it available online. It should also be possible to later edit published pages, as well as taking them off line, hiding them from public view without deleting them. The last point is actually part of the workflow requirement presented below.

Workflow

This is a feature of WCMS featuring several authors and perhaps an editorial staff. A web-page or document has status which perhaps only certain individuals are authorized to change, for example the editor accepting an article for publishing. Time-limits are also part of the workflow. One page can be scheduled to go on- or off line at a given point in time.

Administration

When web-site structure grows complex, there appears a need to administer the larger amounts of content, and which users are privileged to do which actions. User, role or group access rights must be managed. The administration is generally what the content manager is doing besides creating content.


I also considered including access control, as many content administrators are obsessed with micro-managing who gets to see what (more typical situation on an intranet), but I'll blog more on what I think about that another day.