A Drupal site should be intuitive on both the front end and the back end. In order for the front end to look great in the browser and retain users, the back end also needs to be strong.
Users come for the content and stay for the content, so the site needs to be structured with their needs in mind. Your content editors have the responsibility of creating the content that your audience looks for. If they can’t easily and efficiently update content, the site will lose out on hits, engagement, and retention. Basically, happy content editors make for happy site users.
So, how do you keep your content editors happy?
Information Architecture: It Can Be a Dream or a Disaster
Well planned and executed information architecture helps to successfully structure a site’s content. Effective navigation ensures that your users can successfully work their way through the site and find what they’re looking for. It also means that your content editors will understand the site and know where to go to make edits. If the framework for the content isn’t set for success, the content alone won’t save the site.
Think about it this way. If you’re building a house and the foundation and layout aren’t built well, the rest of the house won’t make up for it. The layout of your website (or your house) will determine exactly how easy or difficult it is to add more to. If your house is poorly laid out, the construction won’t go as well and the final product won’t wow.
The same is true for websites. If the framework for the content can’t support the structure, no one will interact with it because it takes too long to find or they can’t find it at all. You can have awesome copy and beautiful graphics, but they’ll go to waste if the architecture doesn’t lead users down the correct paths.
When in doubt, start with a basic structure and gradually take steps to make it more intricate. Make sure you have all your bases covered in the main navigation before working on second tier menus. The navigation works as a compass to your content by pointing users in the right direction, and it’s also predictable and understandable for your content editors.
Behind the Scenes: The Back End
Every site needs a well built back end in order to effectively add content. This process needs to be as smooth as possible for the content editors. They want to be able to get into the site and efficiently update content without any surprise complications.
If things are clunky on the back end, they’ll spend way too much time trying to figure out where to go to edit a piece of content in a view or how to add a caption to an image. And when your content editors are having trouble, who do you think they’re going to call? (Hint: Not the Ghostbusters).
Make sure your editors have all the back end capabilities that they’ll need and that they know how to use them. Do they have all the options that they need in the WYSIWYG? Do you need to enable a module for a media gallery? Is your text placement optimized for the site and its information?
All these questions should be asked before giving the content editors the keys to their new (web) home. A well structured back end will help everyone work more efficiently in the long run. Your content editors will thank you.