Monday, May 07, 2007

11 usability principles for CMS products

The importance of usability for CMS products ...

"The functionality of the content management system (CMS) is obviously a key deciding factor when purchasing a new product. Equally important is the usability of the CMS.

If staff, particularly authors, cannot easily make use of the CMS, then the system will never be a success, regardless of how powerful it may be.

The overall usability of CMS products, and their suitability for their intended users, is therefore increasingly closely scrutinised during the evaluation and selection process.

One key challenge remains, however, which is how best to define (and ultimately evaluate) the 'usability' of a content management system.

While there are no simple answers to this question, this article is intended to provide some starting points for organisations looking to select a CMS.

The article focuses on exploring a number of key principles that can be used to guide the evaluation of CMS usability. These principles can be used when constructing scenarios for use in the vendor demonstration, as well as when documenting the CMS requirements.

It is hoped that this article will promote further discussion among the CMS industry on how best to design and deliver usable products.

Vendors are also encouraged to consider these principles when planning upgrades to their products, to help ensure that usability is not sacrificed in the name of added functionality.

A CMS will only be used if it is usable

Importance of usability

Two earlier briefings introduced the core concepts behind this article.

The importance of content management system usability highlighted the importance of usability in relation to CMS products, noting that it is more than just 'ease of use'.

The article More users = simpler CMS followed on from this, emphasising that the larger number of authors, the simpler the CMS should be. (This is often in conflict with accepted wisdom about purchasing 'enterprise' products.)

Since the writing of these two briefings, the need for usable content management systems has only grown."    (Continued via KM Column)    [Usability Resources]

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