If an Umbraco solution was a painting...
Let’s imagine for a second that an Umbraco CMS solution is a painting and an editor is the artist. What makes up a good painting? For the purposes of this blog post, let's simplify this and say that all you need is a solid canvas, some good brushes and some nice paint.
While we provide the canvas (the CMS) and a number of good brushes (backoffice features) out of the box (literally and figuratively), it is up to those laying the groundwork for painting (developers/web agency) to take care of the right setup: place the canvas, pick out the most suitable brushes... All so an artist (editor) can pick the paint (content) needed and efficiently bring a beautiful painting to life.
Below you’ll find examples of paintings just like that. And happy artists too 😉
Behind award-winning paintings
Alexandra Hindle, Marketing Executive at Cormar Carpet Company, has been working with Umbraco for 6 years now: “Once I got used to the way Umbraco works, I found it pretty easy to navigate my way around the different sections of the sites. Our CMS works in “blocks” (components) so once you know how to work one block - you can pretty much work the whole site. It is easy to create and duplicate these blocks to different areas of the site.”
With their website having been built on Umbraco (by CSI Media), the marketing team at Cormar Carpet Company can now enjoy a high-level of autonomy over content on their website. The best part - the ability to develop new and engaging landing pages and blog articles.
CSI Media achieved this by designing a set of original design components, combining a mixture of text and media elements. These components can be grouped together and collated in any order on a page, giving Cormar the flexibility to create unique and immersive online experiences.
“Compared to other CMSs, I find Umbraco to be more simplistic and not as overwhelming, you know where everything is and don’t have to jump through hoops to make changes to your content.”
- Alexandra Hindle, Marketing Executive, Cormar Carpet Company
Courtney Strefling, Marketing Communications Manager at Newell Brands enjoys having the flexibility in designing and editing pages using components that align to their brand style guidelines: “The interface allows for creativity, while also being intuitive and easy-to-use. The architecture of the backoffice makes it easy to manage a large amount of content. I especially appreciate the ability to organize website pages and media using file folders.”
Rubbermaid Commercial Products (part of Newell Brands’ global portfolio) is such an editor’s dream come true that it even won Best Editing Experience at Umbraco Awards 2019 (solution was built by The Scylla Group).
While the company didn’t have any CMS experience prior to using Umbraco, they were comfortable navigating the backoffice and using the platform at full-speed within a few weeks.
Now that we got a peek behind some fabulous Umbraco paintings, let’s have a look at the canvas and brushes that are available with Umbraco.
The canvas and the brushes or what’s possible with Umbraco
Well of course we have to start with Infinite Editing. It’s a feature of the newest version of the friendly CMS - Umbraco 8. There is no time wasted moving around between menus, tabs or content. Editors don’t lose track of their context as updating and creating new content is frictionless and gratifying.
Another Umbraco 8 feature is Language Variants. It enables editors to update multilingual content. This means that content can exist in multiple variations at the same time.
Finally, in the newest version of Umbraco editors can take advantage of Content Apps. Editors can gather, measure, check and learn from their content right there in the project. Content Apps means endless possibilities when it comes to gathering insightful content data, eliminating the need to go to different external platforms.
Umbraco is also simple and quick to learn. Okay, this might be an individual experience. And of course, we have to remember the painting analogy, but I can tell you that as a content editor myself it took me an hour or two to get familiarized with the CMS and I was ready to publish my first blog post.
Editors can preview content, and do so for any device. This way they’ll know exactly how site visitors will experience content whether they view it from a desktop, tablet and phone.
With scheduled publishing editors can prepare news and campaigns ahead of time and tell Umbraco what date and time the content should go live - and even when it should be removed again.
In case of mistakes, editors can rollback to an older version of content. Mistakes do happen, but with versioned content it is very easy to fix, consider it editor’s very own infinite undo.
And the list goes on. (Read more in detail about the key Umbraco features related to happy editing.) All to make sure that editors have the proper environment to enrich their content, ensure it is accurate, up to date and engaging.
There is one more brush we haven’t discussed yet... 🎨
How to build an editor-friendly solution or the key brush
Just like Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Dirkzwager is a solution that won Best Editing Experience, only at Umbraco Awards 2018. Dirkzwager’s project manager Fedosja van der Lee might already be familiar to you - she did a talk about “10 tips to make your editor love you” at Codegarden 2019 and at various Umbraco festivals around the world.
For Fedosja, a project’s success is its focus on editor-friendliness: “Because I believe in the fact that if you build a solution for the editor well, everybody can use it. It is of course good for the editor, but also for the quality of the website, the quality of the message to be spread.”
“Know more about what you’re building and who you’re building it for. I think that is the key message to building an extremely friendly platform. Umbraco at the base is friendly and it gives you the tools to make it even friendlier, but you have to do it yourself.”
- Fedosja van der Lee, Project Manager, Perplex
The normal practice at Perplex, where Fedosja works, is talking to the editor before starting to build the solution. They make sure to know more about the editor, the level of skills and experience in working with a CMS, and then figure out what the key functionalities the editor is going to be needing the most: “By doing it this way we can make sure that the editors who use Umbraco love it. It’s already lovable from itself, but when we’re building with it, we try to give it even more love, making sure that developers, designers and project managers are seeing the solution with the eyes of the editor.”
According to Fedosja, those building a solution should focus on what editors will actually be benefiting from, rather than building things an editor won’t need or won’t even understand how to use.
And so we circled around back to painting. Umbraco provides the tools for developers and agencies to customize and make the editor-friendly magic happen. Then what’s left is a few brush strokes by editors and many fabulous Umbraco paintings will be showcased on the World Wide Web.
Would you like to know more?