DestinationCore | Author experience - it's just as important as user…

Author experience - it's just as important as user experience!

Some top tips from the DestinationCore team about how to make the content editing experience on your website a joy. You'll discover why author experience is just as important as user experience and how the two are linked!

AUTHOR EXPERIENCE? WHAT’S THAT?

‘Author Experience’ is an often overlooked, but very important, aspect of building a new website. By now we’re all used to websites being built on Content Management Systems (CMS) – this is what allows non-technical people to update the content on a website – create blogs, change contact details, add new events and offers, change pictures and so on. Such website editors are often referred to as ‘Authors’.

Author Experience essentially refers to how easy it is for these website editors to make subtle tweaks and add, update or delete content. Websites are built by website developers – learning how to ‘code’ is complex, it takes years of learning and expertise to become a truly efficient and effective web developer, and there are several different specialisms – front-end developers, back-end developers, dev-ops specialist to name just a few. Because these are highly skilled individuals, they often assume that everybody knows how the complex relationships in the ‘engine’ of a website work and can therefore overlook how easy it is for a website editor to use.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR MY DESTINATION WEBSITE?

“It’s not so bad to use once you get used to it”

Said many a client about their 'not so easy to use' CMS

Hearing a client explain that once they’ve added content a few times and found the appropriate work around that ‘it’s not so difficult to use’ is incredibly frustrating! Why? Because it shouldn’t be like that! Author Experience should be just as intuitive as User Experience. The end user of a website wouldn’t spend much time on your site very long if they couldn’t figure out how to get to the information they wanted, without having to ‘get used to it’.

Taking ownership of a website on a CMS should give you the control to make the changes that you, as a destination marketeer, require to adapt to the needs of your end user. Ultimately User Experience (UX) is related directly to Author Experience (AX) – the easier it is for content editors to update and adapt a site, the more likely it is that users will find the content, experience, offer or event they are after.

Ax content image Look familiar? Using a CMS shouldn't be painful.

And the easier it is for you – as a website author – to add and adapt content, the more likely you are to do it.

Let’s be honest, crafting great content that your users will love and encourages them to visit the place you’re promoting is one of the more fun parts of the job – it gives you the opportunity to showcase the expertise and affection you have for your destination. So, adding that content to the website should be a breeze.

If it’s simple to do, and there are no barriers blocking you from adding great content, then you’ll do it more often – giving users more reason to visit your website. And if you’re able to adapt the structure and content of your site according to the behaviour of those users, then it’s more likely that they’ll take the ultimate end action – actually visit!

IS YOUR DESTINATION WEBSITE LACKING WHEN IT COMES TO AUTHOR EXPERIENCE?

If you feel that the CMS on your current site doesn’t give you the control you require over your content, then the first thing you should do is raise this with your current provider. At the very least they should be able to provide you with some refresher training.

The second thing on your “to do” list should be to give us a call at DestinationCore. We pride ourselves on providing websites which place just as much emphasis on Author Experience as User Experience (in equal measure).

But if you’re not using the DestinationCore team to help you build your new online destination website, then here are a few tips to ensure that your current CMS works as hard as possible for you:

  1. Insist on a user guide; it may seem pretty obvious, but a lot of web development companies need to be nagged to provide you with a user guide. It doesn’t need to be long, just a few quick pointers on the key sections of your website. It’s easy to forget how to add an offer or event to your site if you don’t have to do it very often – so something to refer back to is always handy.
  2. Ensures pages and tabs in the CMS have names which mean something to you; developers know all the technical terms, but you might not. Ask CMS to be labelled in layman’s terms – so you know what they are. Instead of ‘articles’ ask for ‘blog’ or ‘news’ whatever makes most sense to you – the author. The less thinking you have to do around terminology the more attention you can divert to making great content.
  3. Ask for a hand over meeting; again, this may seem obvious, but it is easy for this essential meeting to be overlooked. Chances are that you’ve been using some aspects of the CMS while the site was being finalised – adding content and so on. It’s easy for your provider to assume that you’re familiar with everything the CMS can do. A handover meeting where the provider (and perhaps even the developer) responsible for building the site walks you through everything that’s possible on the CMS, or they could just over cover a few gems of what’s possible. The more you know the more control you have.
  4. Build refresher training into your support package; no matter how good your memory is. You’ll never remember everything that the CMS can do, and without even knowing it you’ll fall into bad habits or work arounds that take longer than they should. Ask for refresher training to be included as part of your ongoing support package. If you pick up just one new feature every session it will be worth it.
  5. Create a CMS dashboard on login to your CMS; the dashboard or initial page you land on after you login on the CMS normally comes with some degree of configuration. Ask for it to be set up with the shortcuts which are most useful to you – if 60% of the work you do on the website is adding events, then ask for a shortcut to that section to be added to your dashboard. Some CMS offer the ability to add short form content like news directly from the dashboard. Enquire what’s possible with dashboard configuration and then ask for your developer it to be set up in a way that works for you.


View some case studies

NewcastleGateshead

NewcastleGateshead

The NewcastleGateshead Initiative is the DMO representing Newcastle, Gateshead and the surrounding areas. They came to us frustrated with their existing website solution – feeling that their current provider was offering poor value for money. Our solution has helped transform their online presence by improving the user experience and offering greater value for their members.

VISIT WEBSITE

Visit Southampton

Visit Southampton

Southampton BID had just gone through a brand refresh and were looking to help bring that brand to life with a powerful online experience. They wanted visitsouthampton.co.uk to be the go-to website for users to find out about what to do and what's on in Southampton. They chose the Advanced core package and The List Events Feed module to power their website.

VISIT WEBSITE

All About Ipswich

All About Ipswich

All About Ipswich is a DMO for Ipswich and the surrounding area. The website showcases events and offers, and also includes a business directory. It provides easy access to a huge range of content, with the Journey Planner and Itinerary Builder modules enriching the user experience. The Campaign Section module provides a hub for the client's numerous marketing initiatives.

VISIT WEBSITE

Visit Clapham Junction

Visit Clapham Junction

As a BID in their first term The Junction BID needed to make an impact. Attracting visitors to Clapham Junction by showcasing what’s on offer and demonstrating value to the businesses they represent was essential. They chose the Offers and Events progressive web app alongside the Advanced core package to encourage people who work within the BID area to spend more time at The Junction.

VISIT WEBSITE

In Colchester

In Colchester

In Colchester is the consumer website for the Colchester BID. We helped them create a new consumer facing brand, and then applied that brand to the DestinationCore platform to create a stunning looking website. Launched in August 2019 the feedback for this site has been superb. The client is looking to refine and improve the website in the coming months and years by adding modules in the future.

VISIT WEBSITE

Visit Melchester

Visit Melchester

We’ve created a demo site for our fantasy town of Melchester. It’s an idyllic location by the sea, with an abundance of independent retailers and fair number of local characters too. Be sure to check out the blog about a true local hero - Admiral Standfast. Use the 'Toggle' button to switch between the Standard and Advanced sites to compare the differences. Go on. Take a trip to Melchester!

VISIT WEBSITE
DestinationCore exmaples on Mobile

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Tel: 020 7729 0934

Email: info@destinationcore.com