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CMS Information Architecture Institute PowerPoint Presentation

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  • Slide 1 - 1 The (Unfulfilled) Promise of Content Management Systems Victor Lombardi “I know of no place where you can go and read a concise summary of all this tribal wisdom. The only way I know is to go to a conference and talk to your peers. That's the only way to find out where the bodies are buried.” – Tim Bray, co-inventor of XML http://www.cmswatch.com/Features/PeopleWatch/FeaturedPeople/?feature_id=13
  • Slide 2 - 2 Agenda Part I: The CMS Ecology Part II: Designing for Reusable Content References Appendix: A CMS Framework With a focus on web content management, though the concepts apply to other media
  • Slide 3 - 3 Victor Lombardi CMS Experience Capacity: Internal and Consulting Industries: Healthcare, Financial Services, Retail, Publishing, Telecommunications Large: Vignette, Interwoven Medium: SBI.Razorfish Homegrown Small: Movable Type, Tinderbox
  • Slide 4 - 4 Summary Be realistic about your needs Use the right system for your needs Err on the side of a smaller system Accept the consistency/flexibility tradeoff Devote extra time to information architecture Build a modular design with reusable content Standardize process and design elements as much as possible Don’t neglect the content in favor of (sexier?) IA and technology Plan extra time for authoring and migration
  • Slide 5 - 5 Part I: What is Content Management? Then the content is published into the right spot in the publishing template Start by entering content and metadata using an authoring template Logo
  • Slide 6 - 6 Application Server Major Components Database Authoring Templates Publishing User Interface HTML Pages Templates
  • Slide 7 - 7 Process for Designing IA for CMS Authoring Templates Content/Metadata Model Presentation Templates Web Pages User Research Info Architecture Definition Business Strategy Workflow Content Presentation Content Audit Publishing Process Research
  • Slide 8 - 8 Basic CMS Features Access Control: Who is allowed to do what? Version Control: Return to a previously saved version Library: Page templates, images, other assets Content Repository: Text and other assets stored in a database or XML repository Publishing Functionality: Creates web pages using content and templates
  • Slide 9 - 9 Prime Benefit: Efficiency
  • Slide 10 - 10 Benefits (aka promised benefits) “Single source” of content Reusability of content Versioning Easier maintenance Consistency Easier authoring and publishing
  • Slide 11 - 11 The CMS Ecology Assumes content management at the institutional, not personal, level The average CMS project cost is about $6.6 million Computer World, September 30, 2002 Over 300 Software Packages http://directory.google.com/Top/Computers/Software/Internet/Site_Management/Content_Management/ Software packages vary widely: web content mgmt, document mgmt, asset mgmt, workflow, portal publishing, application integration, small/medium/large/enterprise Initial implementation requires 3 months, overall process can take 9 -12 months or more
  • Slide 12 - 12 Venting Frustration Peter Merholz commandeers the CMS Panel at IA Summit 2002 Photo: Erin Malone/Christina Wodtke
  • Slide 13 - 13 AIfIA CMS Survey Conducted January 24-31, 2003 Invited participation from members of ASIST SIGIA-L, AIfIA, and the ia-cms list 64 responses collected Purpose to gauge perceptions of CMS
  • Slide 14 - 14 What problems have you experienced when designing for or implementing content management software?
  • Slide 15 - 15 Apart from hardware and software what other problems have you experienced with content management systems?
  • Slide 16 - 16 Most Popular Responses “No easy way to integrate controlled vocabularies” “It should be more clear what kind of content the system is designed to manage: documents, web content, etc.” “Make it allow for more flexible designs” “Workflow didn't fit my needs” The diversity of responses reflects the broad – perhaps overly broad – scope of CMS systems
  • Slide 17 - 17 Conclusion #1: Prepare Your Organization for CMS Complexity Requires many skills: writing, gathering assets, designing a templated website and authoring templates, technology implementation, workflow… Requires coordination across diverse departments and roles Requires rigorous project management “A CMS is probably the most complex rollout you and your IT colleagues are likely to have to manage.” – Martin White, CMS Consultant and Writer http://www.econtentmag.com/r5/2002/firewall7_02.html
  • Slide 18 - 18 Conclusion #2: Be Realistic About Your Requirements Go beyond "requirements gathering" to requirements prototyping: prioritize what you need and try using a prototype first Resist Featuritis or suffer from the resulting complexity
  • Slide 19 - 19 Conclusion #3: Tightly integrate design and technology CMS configuration is technical work and often performed by information technologists Yet many tasks, for example creating authoring templates, require a well-designed user interface for content authors Therefore, designers must be proactive and find/learn where their skills are needed
  • Slide 20 - 20 Conclusion #4: Don’t Neglect the Content With all the focus on design and implementation, not enough attention is given to content creation and migration Ultimately, you are designing a system to deliver content – prioritize it appropriately Migrating old content will always take longer than you expect
  • Slide 21 - 21 Conclusion #5: Build Workflow Organically Often difficult to model offline processes for online publishing Try building only what you absolutely need, then use it for a while and fine tune it to your needs “The 80/20 point suggests that you can do 20 percent of the effort to get 80 percent of the benefit and since effort in this field is so expensive, that's the point we should all be shooting for.” – Tim Bray
  • Slide 22 - 22 Conclusion #6: Buy The Right Size Products are merely examples of this genre; this is not an endorsement. There is no easy escape from the soul searching involved in selecting CMS software. Small Enterprise …and 292 packages in between
  • Slide 23 - 23 Small is Beautiful Manageable complexity Can always export your content into a bigger system later Many good low cost options Consider using only the part of CMS you need Can implement it before the need for CMS changes Fast Slow Information Architecture Business Re-organization CMS Implementation While IA can be done fast enough to serve an organization before it changes, a large CMS implementation can require more time than a business re-organization, which might significantly alter or eliminate the original purpose of the CMS
  • Slide 24 - 24 Big is Beautiful Too* …if it’s right for you Efficiencies in using one system for many people Requires standardizing software, content, and often publishing processes Organizations must be prepared for the significant inter-departmental coordination required Without an CMS departments might share one or more common sub-system: Content repository (text stored using XML or a database) Metadata registry (controlled vocabulary, other metadata) Library (templates, images, other media assets) * Medium is beautiful as well
  • Slide 25 - 25 Part II: Designing for Reusable Content Information modeling that takes advantage of CMS efficiency
  • Slide 26 - 26 Think In Terms of Building Blocks Think of your site as made up of building blocks of content Having some standard “sizes” make it easier to build the user interface
  • Slide 27 - 27 Reusable Content Requires Standardization Standardize on many levels: Format of Information Sites Metadata Authoring and Publishing Templates May require coordination across an organization
  • Slide 28 - 28 Start with the User Interface This keeps the information centered on user needs, instead of having to retrofit a user interface onto a mismatched information model Helps determine scope: model only the information you need in the system, and avoid an unnecessary large intellectual exercise
  • Slide 29 - 29 Feedback Loop In practice, there’s a feedback loop between the user interface and the information model, but focusing on the user interface helps ensure the right design for the user You may have to consider several different UIs that share content to make sure the content is reusable
  • Slide 30 - 30 Creating Building Blocks Do a significant portion of the information architecture Look for places where content is similar Try to standardize the similar content, or at least reduce the set of possible pieces that can be mixed and matched Balance the needed user interface elements with author effort to create that content
  • Slide 31 - 31 Catalog Building Blocks
  • Slide 32 - 32 Granularity Granularity refers to the size of your building blocks May vary from document to document More granularity equals more flexibility in reuse but also more complexity Hard to increase granularity later on Try erring toward finer granularity during design, then come implementation time see whether it's still necessary
  • Slide 33 - 33 Group Exercise You have: One document Five user interfaces where information from that document appears Make a list of: each type of information (e.g. the title of the document) that must be a separate element in the CMS to enable all five user interfaces Mark whether each type is required or not Specify how many of each type may is allowed in the system (i.e. cardinality)
  • Slide 34 - 34 Modules and HTML Templates Fewer makes for easier maintenance, and possibly also a more consistent layout which could contribute to usability Cisco.com: nearly one million pages and about three HTML templates
  • Slide 35 - 35 Prototype Content in Page Layouts Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme Results depend on how HTML is developed Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme. Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme. Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme. Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme. Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme. Try using different sized content: Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme. Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme. Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme. Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme. Try using different sized content: an average case and at Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme. Try using different sized content: an average case and at either extreme.
  • Slide 36 - 36 Bigger Sites Must Be Smarter Sites Bigger sites (>100K pages) require more than efficiency, they require automation Even with reusable content, it’s not cost-effective to touch every piece of content on every type of page Once content is authored, only touch each type of content Accomplished via a Semantic CMS…
  • Slide 37 - 37 Example: Product Information We’d like to add a link to a new type of information – “white paper” – on every product page We don’t want to modify every template for every kind of product page every time we have a change
  • Slide 38 - 38 Create Semantic Relationships Use metadata to describe the relationship among information types
  • Slide 39 - 39 Categories of Pages “Product Pages” include page types: Product Overview Product Details Technical Specifications Case Studies Warranty
  • Slide 40 - 40 Rule-Powered Pages If Page is tagged as a “Product Page” then… link to related information types
  • Slide 41 - 41 Conclusion Be realistic about your needs Use the right system for your needs Err on the side of a smaller system Accept the consistency/flexibility tradeoff Devote extra time to information architecture Build a modular design with reusable content Standardize process and design elements as much as possible Don’t neglect the content in favor of (sexier?) IA and technology Plan extra time for authoring and migration
  • Slide 42 - 42 Resources Books Content Management Bible http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/076454862X/theasilomarin-20 Managing Enterprise Content http://www.managingenterprisecontent.com/ On the Web CMSWatch http://www.cmswatch.com/ Metadata & Taxonomies for a More Flexible Information Architecture http://www.asis.org/Conferences/Summit2002/IA_Summit_031602.ppt Smarter Content Publishing http://www.digital-web.com/features/feature_2002-08.shtml Ontology Development and Relationship Modeling for Enterprises and Enterprise Websites, Brett Lider (IA Summit 2003) Email Lists IA CMS http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ia-cms/ CMS List http://www.cms-list.org/
  • Slide 43 - 43 Thank You Questions? Feedback? http://www.victorlombardi.com/ +1 212-798-6685 SBI.Razorfish http://www.sbiandcompany.com/
  • Slide 44 - 44 Appendix: A CMS Framework An initial analysis of your CMS environment
  • Slide 45 - 45 Framework Summarized Establish metrics Size of company Project management proficiency Degree of centralized content management processes Type of content Variety of content Variety of publishing channels The content to be managed
  • Slide 46 - 46 Metrics Start by listing what you intend to accomplish in terms of goals Be specific: “We will publish product information in one week instead of two and reduce the costs of staff and computers by 20%.” Helps focus all decisions downstream
  • Slide 47 - 47 Company Size Small Medium Big Enterprise < $10K $40K-100K $100K-200K > $200K Bigger companies often have requirements that result in more expensive software
  • Slide 48 - 48 Project Management Ability Factor in the formality of your culture and support from management None Moderate Don’t attempt, or outsource Can Handle the Largest IT Projects Consider outside assistance N/A
  • Slide 49 - 49 Degree of centralized content management processes How much do departments need to synchronize authoring and publishing processes? To what extend do sites/content/applications interact? Many departments author and publish content with no standards Higher complexity Lower complexity One department authors and publishes all content in a standardized way
  • Slide 50 - 50 Media Types Also see CMS Watch: http://www.cmswatch.com/ContentManagement/Products/ http://www.cmswatch.com/images/CMSWatchIMChart.pdf Content: System: Digital Asset Management Source Code Management Document Management Web Content Management Multimedia Software Code Documents Website content Buy a system suited to your needs
  • Slide 51 - 51 Variation in Content More heterogeneous content requires more tough standardization decisions Easier to standardize Harder to standardize Low level of variation among content items, pages, site sections, and sites High level of variation among content items, pages, site sections, and sites
  • Slide 52 - 52 Variation in the Publishing Channels A higher number and heterogeneity of channels requires more granular, standardized content Courser granularity Finer granularity One homogenous site for one audience Many heterogeneous sites for many audiences
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