Content Management System (CMS)
Problem to solve
How do we create a complex interface for software tools that is easy enough for anyone to use?
Working directly with Lead designer and product managers
Marketing software company
* For the sake of company privacy, details and wireframes are adjusted to have general content.
With a growing list of products and features, the company's key goal was centered around scaling. An interface that allows customers to successfully create and manage their own products is a key stepping stone in that process. Prior to being on the project, there was an initial CMS interface in place but was mostly managed by internal team members. The company wants to change its approach and hopes that clients are able to take ownership of their products. From service-based to product-fueled.
User and business win-win:
Design a CMS interface that is intuitive, informative, and enjoyable to use so that internal resources can be relieved and redirected while customers can make updates in a more quick and direct manner.
Understanding the users
The users are corporate project managers and content strategists. They work in bigger teams and have approval processes.
Their main goals are centered around quickly producing for tight deadlines, being able to make specific changes to reflect their brand, and directly see results of the product to their end-users.
Sketching out the flow
In many instances, they are adding custom content, redesigning based on new brand guidelines, or creating promotions or ads to display.
Auditing the current CMS, I found that the gap between the interface and the intended user (client) is communication.
Why aren’t clients willing or able to use the CMS?
Clients’ responses focused on the high learning curve, lack of confidence in managing important high-risk duties, and frustration with the tedious and repetitive tasks.
Ideate and design
The new design would tackle these problems of information, trust, and frustration through the dialogue between user and software
How do we increase the system to user communication?
On a layout level, creating a composition for pages to always include clear titles and descriptive text for all sections and forms. Making sure there is consistency in design elements would increase predictability and reduce the learning curve in completing new tasks.
On a structural level, streamline navigation to separate changes that are reused versus product-specific changes to reduce the repetitive workload of making updates.
On an interaction level, separate tasks into a clear linear step-by-step process and provide feedback to users about errors to build confidence around important changes.
I experimented with different versions of the navigation. All options centered around how to successfully separate sections and sub-sections to emphasize hierarchy and reduce cognitive load for users.
The feedback to the navigation from product teams and developers prompted me to use more simple components, and after speaking with the current internal users of the CMS it was clear that separating the flow into a checklist that also worked as the navigation was a more streamlined route. This way I could reuse components like the card versus adding a dual-layered side panel.
Another benefit is that this aligns with the intro site map categorizing how often a customer would make a change. Once, a product is set up, it is less likely that changes will need to be made in those pages. So in this version, accessing the set up will take you away from (and doesn't crowd) the current navigation which a user works with often to enhance and promote their products.
This project is broken down into phases of slowly integrating this design strategy into upcoming plans.
As an ongoing project, the next steps would be to formalize testing to first versions and make iterations based on usability responses around our KPIs: clear communication, trust in the system, and reduced time investment in updating or making changes.