Drupal Content Administrators - The (Not-So-Silent) Majority

Aaron Shenette // January 2015

The Fun Part!

There’s countless cartoons showcasing the excitement that surrounds the start of a new website project. Groups gather in a conference room, surrounded by sketches and ideas, sometimes even in the presence of a bagel assortment. This is the fun part. There’s discussion about the wonderful and innovative things to accomplish, and the large issues to be solved. These meetings progress, and there’s a list of goals to tackle. Work is divided amongst the technical and design folks, and work is underway. This is going to be the best Drupal site ever! But wait, who did we forget?

What About Us!?

Often times with Drupal projects, in this exchange of ideas between technical and design folks, we forget one very important group of site users - the content administrators. Certainly not to downplay the role of developers and designers, but we’ve come to realize that knowing how content administrators want to use a site can provide valuable information to consider from the start. This knowledge helps to reduce redundancies or reduce features that will go untouched, cutting down on timelines and budgets.

Your Site’s Owner’s Manual

The initial familiarization with a new site is often where we see Drupal projects strain. Content administrators are provided with a new site, but have little knowledge on how to leverage its power, and often very limited training. Think of when you get a new car. You’re excited to use all the new features it has, but can easily get frustrated on the smallest thing, such as setting up the Bluetooth. This frustration is not due to a lack of ability, but rather a lack of understanding on how to perform this task. Proper documentation, such as your owner’s manual, help to resolve the issue you’re having. You car’s owner’s manual acts much in the same way that proper documentation of your Drupal site can. 

Another scenario where we often see a need for documentation is when new staff join an organization, as staff turnover is an inevitable occurrence when running a business. Documentation of your site, particularly for content administrators helps with the process of onboarding staff in an efficient manner. During the interview process you may learn that someone is well-versed with Drupal, however, the chances of them being familiar with your unique site is pretty slim.

There is Hope!

If writing is not your thing, documentation services are an invaluable tool that can be utilized to help make your website more approachable by new staff, and even serve as a reference tool to ensure that best site usage is maintained. I wouldn’t be doing my job well without mentioning that we at Isovera offer documentation services and customized training to ensure that your staff, new and current, are able to best utilize that awesome site you have.