Too often we see websites that look great and well organised on the surface. Somehow all the important information is not where you expect to find it. We call it the 'empty calendar' syndrome. This is where we see a lovely calendar or diary widgit or box or area, which has no events or activities. Instead, they are in one big text list in a blog post or news article.
Because it is often easier to add a blog post, the blog area becomes the dumping ground for all the updateable information, and the rest of the website remains with the pristine (and often generic) wording it had on the launch date. Which is now increasingly out of date. What is wrong with this scenario? It makes the visitor work very hard to find the important information from your website, and most visitors won't work very hard, and won't visit again.
The reason for this is that parts of the website are either too complicated to update (requiring the input of a developer, for example), or are too hard to just figure out, and the person who know how to do it has left the building. With modern Content Management Systems such as Drupal this should be less of a problem, but we are still surprised to find 'empty calendars' all around us.
The second part of successfully avoiding the 'empty calendar' syndrome is using a website developer that will give you an updating process that is easy for you and the way that you work, enhancing the existing qualities of the content management system with good automatic updating of menus or lists, and helpful text and advice throughout.
Case study - blogs that update a menu automatically
Learn to Ring Handbells is a specialist blog site which has a library of different educational and news articles about all aspects of ringing handbells. The visitor can use filters, tags, searches and the main menu to go straight to the articles of most interest. The posts themselves are authored by a number of different people, most of whom are using the site intuitively without explicit training.
However, on adding a new blog post, the author only needs to select a category from various lists (only one of which is required) to automatically sort the blog into the right menu and make if easy to locate using searches and filters. The existing authoring form was enhanced to make this as simple and uncluttered as possible.
Case Study - content that updates a slideshow and menus automatically
Sue Simpson mostly displays images of works of art. These are divided into several categories, each of which has it's own slideshow. For the editor of this site, there is a customised editing form that manages all the information in one place, so adding that the image, supporting information (e.g. price, dimensions, medium and so on) and descriptions are all just simple actions. Finally, there is a checklist to select which slideshow will display the artwork.
Once the editor has added and saved this information, the software does all the rest, creating the slideshows and the menus automatically without any further action on the part of the editor.
It should be that easy. Is yours?
If you would like to see a live demonstration of how easy we can make your website, please get in touch using our handy Contact form.