Working with a Content Management System – Usability Tips

Date: June 27, 2011 Author: Mantis System Categories: Preparing Your Content

This post is meant to serve as a basic guideline for website managers or anyone responsible for updating or creating content for their CMS-based website. These tips are for people with little to no experience working with a CMS, and will ensure that your content translates gracefully onto the web, while still maintaining a maximum level of usability and ensuring consistency across all of the pages on your site.

The web uses the RGB color model. CMYK and Spot colors typically translate well, however website managers must be aware that the web uses only the RGB color model, and translating CMYK and Spot colors (from a print project for example) to RGB might change the look of your website or not achieve the color or look you may have been going for.

Many clients and end users (the ones making the updates to their sites using a CMS) are not at all familiar with design principles or html and cascading style sheets (css, used for web page styling – basic and advanced). So, for example creating custom font styles (classes) for use in the middle of a paragraph would require the creation of custom classes, and while this can be done and set up initially, if the user ever needs to edit or add similar classes to other elements of a site, they likely will not know how to. Keeping the design simple is best.

Keep designs simple. Avoid different font size/color/style for one word in a paragraph; keep styles consistent. Generally, a website should have a heading style, a sub heading style, and the general text style. This way the end user editing the website doesn’t have to learn html & css to figure out how to keep the website looking consistent, and is therefore able to present a more professional online presence to anyone visiting the site. The sample below is a basic example of the efficient and standard  way of formatting type for the web, very similar to print design and production practices.

Type formatting and design for the web

Only use web safe fonts: These are fonts that are supported across all major browsers. A basic list of web safe fonts may be found here:

Today many new websites are built using powerful web tools like content management systems, and now people of varying skill levels are able to add new content to their sites with ease. When you find yourself in this position, keep in mind these basic tips, and if you have any questions or comments about your site, feel free to contact us to discuss them.



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