The low down on CMS packages Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal

All the websites in the background image were designed by me. Not only the graphics but also the UX and IA.

I build my websites for clients in Joomla, WordPress, and HTML. I code in HTML5, CSS3, and a little PHP.

Do you want your viewers to experience cognitive strain or cognitive ease?  Who will spend 5 seconds looking for the search box when the average page view is less than 2 seconds?  Information Architecture is a science, but unfortunately not an exact one. What would be for one using a well-designed intuitive website, would be for another a maze of ads and aviators and other distractions and nonsense.

To create a great user experience, you need to understand the methodology of building a website.

Here is an example of a flight check for the whole process.

1.       RESEARCH

Gather factual information about websites or plans for new website. Do not make any assumptions, try to be as open-minded as possible.  Look and analyze the information and try to find consistent patterns for further analysis.

•          Research

•          Listen

•          Aggregate the information

•          Analyze

•          Make no assumptions

Gather

•          Stakeholder interviews

•          Brand research

•          Consumer behavior research

•          SEO metrics

•          User testing

•          User paths

•          Ethnographic research

•          User-generated social tagging

•          Anecdotal reports

•          Trends – merchandising, technology, content, etc.

•          Cross-channel content – messaging and results

Deliverables

•          Content Audit

•          Competitive Assessment

•          Stakeholder Interviews

2.       IDENTIFY

Next, review the information gathered during the discovery phase and look for emerging patterns without assigning refined meaning. Find out what is happening on the website now. Find out what the client would like to influence. Look at what’s happening across channels –  social media, tv, print, events, mobile, emerging platforms.

Deliverables

•          Strategy  Outlines (Note emerging patterns and potential gaps)

•          Taxonomy and Nomenclature  Exploration (Note  items, categories, and topics)

•          Initial SEO planning

3.       ANALYZE

Explore the reasons why certain patterns have emerged. Analyze patterns in relation to personas to define motivations.  Also, look for gaps –  which user motivations are not being realized by current content? Or, if it is a new website, which user motivations may have been overlooked during the discovery and identify stages?

•          Map patterns to motivations

•          Identify gaps

•          Explore topics, products, and services in relation to motivations

•          Map to business and marketing strategies

•          Consider systems and tools that can effectively connect relevant information with specific motivations

Deliverables

•          Personas

•          Mental Models

•          Maps (Content to motivations, behaviors, analytics, architecture, technology, channels)

•          Gap Analysis

•          Refine Content Strategy

•          Refine Taxonomy and Nomenclature

•          SEO Research

•          Information Architecture Outline (IA)

4.       DESIGN

How can more meaningful connections be made between content and user needs?

•          Connect meaning to motivation

•          Connect motivation to online behavior

•          Connect topics, products, and services in relation to motivations

•          Connect content  to business and marketing strategies

•          Identify content that will fill identified gaps

•          Define what, when, where, how , and why will content appear throughout the experience

•          Research systems and tools for delivery

•          Identify measures and metrics related to content

•          Consider IT and CMS structure as needed.

•          Establish voice and tone.

Deliverables

•          Final Content Strategy

•          Voice and Tone | Style Guide

•          Editorial Calendar and Workflows

•          Final Taxonomy and Nomenclature

•          Card Sorting Exercises

•          Metadata

•          SEO Keyword integration

•          Wireframes (IA)

5.       DEFINE

Create a plan and tell the story throughout all touchpoints.

•          Build on connections to fully integrate and create an overall seamless experience.

•          Consider content channels – website, social media, mobile, events, brick and mortar stores, tv – any touchpoints where the consumer interacts with the brand.

•          Refine measures of success.

Deliverables

•          Content Matrix

•          Content Migration Plan

•          Content Archival Practice

•          Wire-frame Refinements (with IA)

•          CMS Requirements (Content)

•          Copy Doc

•          Measures and Metrics Plan (Marketing)

6.       REFINE and TWEAK

Consider ongoing refinements to implement for future projects. Explore future possibilities.

•          Ongoing assessment of content effectiveness < user statistics/ analytics

•          Ideas for improving processes and deliverables

•          Ideas for new content types

•          Research and possibility thinking with respect to new and emerging technologies and platforms

Deliverables

•          Content Audits < user statistics/ analytics

•          Effectiveness evaluation based on established measures

•          Updated process documents and templates

•          Refined templates

•          Fleshed-out concepts, as ideas take shape