https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/2016/08/30/breaking-out-the-post-its-learning-from-our-editors/

Breaking out the Post-Its: learning from our editors

As you know, here at PDS we’re busy building a new website. As part of the discovery work the content team are doing, we recently carried out a couple of short workshops about the content management system (CMS).

There are hundreds of editors across Parliament with access to the current site. Lots of these editors will be working on the new site, too. We wanted to get feedback about how they use the current CMS.

Sticky notes on a window - various neon colours. Featuring important words from the requirements workshops - including "delete"; "versions"; "create"; "archive"; "assets library"; "publish"

Who we spoke to

In this place (and by ‘this place’ I mean across the business, not just inside PDS); some people use the CMS very rarely, whereas for others it's an integral part of their working day. There’s also the blossoming PDS content team*, who act like ‘super admins’ - managing multiple accounts and guiding content design alongside the editors.

So, we wanted to talk to a variety of people who use the CMS in different ways. This meant we’d be able to get a snapshot of how the business uses the system as a whole.

Why we care

It’s really important that we understand how our editors use the tools they have, so we can make sure any new tools do the job we need them to.

So, we set out to look at what’s happening now, and look at what might happen next.

Breaking it down

We wanted to understand what editors found frustrating about the current CMS, and what they liked about it. From there, we turned these bugbears and praises into cold hard requirements. These requirements will feed into our options for any new content management tools we explore.

What we learned

It was great to know that the kind of things our instincts told us would be important were high on the list of priorities for our editors, too.

We all agreed that intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces make an editor’s job better, and that being able to work quickly, and iteratively is something we care about.

We want to be able to access the tool from anywhere, and easily see who’s changed what, and when.

We all agreed that images and video are important components, and we want to be able to seamlessly embed them.

Being able to find the content we want to work on quickly came up as a requirement, too. This means we want greater control over how we navigate the site from the inside.

What’s next

As I said, these requirements will feed into our options for the new website. This won’t be the last time we ask for input from editors - we’ll keep talking throughout the process to make sure we’re taking the right steps towards a better content design experience.

I’ll talk more about content design another time. For now, feel free to join the conversation in the comments below.

*we’re growing - we’d love you to join us - read the full job advert on the PDS jobs page, and apply before Friday 9 September 2016. (if you’re reading this after that date, but are still interested in joining our team, drop me a message on Twitter and I’ll keep you in the loop with further recruitment plans).

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