As a Joomla integrator, I think my mission is to make it easier for the end-user to operate Joomla. It should be a joy to work with Joomla, not a pain. The user needs to feel in control of the content of his or her website. Not the other way around.
This applies even more if the site is a complex one. A more complex site in terms of functionality should not be proportionally hard to maintain.
Sadly, this is not always the case. Many users find it hard to use Joomla. The reasons can be many, but the result is the same: They avoid using it on a daily basis, and the site goes stale and uninteresting. Or they try, don't understand how it works, and mess things up.
So, as a Joomla integrator, I need to find the correct tools and add-ons to Joomla. And give the client the proper training for using them. The tools you choose to use for a Joomla site will impact the experience of your end-user / client.
This is the first post in a series on how to ease the use of Joomla for your clients. Throughout the series, I will go through some of the issues people have with using Joomla - and suggest ways to relieve the pains.
It all starts with the client
When I start a new client project, I make a serious effort to listen to what the client has to say. I ask a lot of questions, and I try to determine what they really need. I try to understand what their current pains are, and how they see themselves being involved in the creation and life of the website. For me, this is crucial for the rest of the process. Without an understanding of what the client needs and feels about the project, how can I create what they want? Of course, sometimes, the client doesn't know a lot about web development, and I need to steer the conversation a bit. Nonetheless, I need to connect to what's important for them.
Then, it's my job to translate their needs and wants into something that is possible to do within the timeframe and budget.
I tend to think of it as:
+ Needed functionality not covered by Joomla core (comments, tags etc)
- "Nice to have" functionality that increases complexity without adding value (Flash animations / eye candy etc)
+ Correctly configured user interface and extensions
= Client user experience and workflow
So, with that in mind, you can put together a site which fits the need of the specific client. In this series, I won't go into what the actual user of the website will see and interact with. Rather, I will focus on how to ease the experience for the person that maintains the site.
There is no use creating a site using a Content Management System that nobody will use.
In a series of posts, I will look at how you can make it easier to use and maintain Joomla.