Content Management System Usability

Like many corporate Web content managers, I’ve worked with content management systems, and also with learning management systems. There was a post and discussion in the LinkedIn Content Wrangler Community about usability issues with content management systems. The difficulty of authoring and managing content in these systems is one reason that my most recent organization went almost entirely to the Wiki for publishing content that once would have gone on our intranet. Subject matter experts didn’t want to learn how to navigate the corporate content management system.

Unfortunately, the Wiki (we used MediaWiki) had very little content management, and was lacking key features like expiration dates for content. That caused data integrity issues down the road. It was also difficult to use the Wiki in place of an intranet, which people wanted to do, and to develop dynamic navigation that incorporated links to all the information residing in our document management system, our learning management system, and other repositories. We were able to set up dynamic category based navigation for the Wiki content, but we could not put non-Wiki content into those categories.

The article mentions that it may be worth the investment to do some customization of your content management system, such as easier input screens for common tasks, but to ensure that it’s done in such a way that you can upgrade the system later without losing the customizations. I want to reiterate that last point, since we had a learning management system that had been customized to such an extent that it couldn’t be upgraded for years, and it caused major problems.

About Pat Wolesky

I consider myself primarily a communicator, and I have 15 years of communication experience which includes product brochures and data sheets, ads, direct mail, press releases, Web content, trade show materials, online newsletters, training materials, and blogs (to name a few). I also have extensive experience in Web content management and knowledge management. Most recently I've been studying Search Engine Marketing, particularly Search Engine Optimization, and in late April of 2011 I completed training through Dakota County Technical College to be a Certified Master of Social Media.

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