by Belinda Naylor-Stables
Here is the third of 3 blog posts on how to successfully develop a content-managed website.
Web development timescale
Many people think the web developer runs your project. But in many ways the timeliness depends on you, the client – because at every stage of development the developer depends on information and feedback from you. Remember, as a client you may not be able to concentrate on this project 100% of the time. Even if you are a dedicated team, you have administrative tasks, training and the usual daily work that will get in the way. So when you look at the plan, it's not just about what the developer will do - be realistic about the timescales you set yourself.
Don’t be squeezed on testing – a good and experienced developer will allow the requisite amount of time for clients to test functions. Don’t be tempted to try to shorten these times in the project plan – or you are in danger of overrun which your Project Board might find hard to understand. Testing includes the time your testing team need to test and give feedback to the developer, any revisions the developer needs to make, then another user check at your end and hopefully resulting in sign off.
Make sure there is budget and time for training in your new website. If you are taking on a new CMS ensure you have time put aside for personnel training. Ask to see an example chapter of a training manual from potential developers if you want to have a feeling for a CMS. Assess the competence level within your user team and remember that user-friendly content management systems (such as eZ Publish) can be picked up by non-technical staff, but inadequate training will result in poor usage - and possibly spoilt web pages or data - using up your troubleshooting resources unnecessarily.
Belinda Naylor-Stables is a qualified PRINCE2 Practitioner and project manager working on eZ Publish web-based solutions for EAB clients.
For an example of a recent project, read our case study on our online CPD solution for Yorkshire and Humberside Grid for Learning.
A recent eZ Publish training session for our client Sound Systems UK was rated excellent on Clarity, Pace, Hands on Learning and our trainer's ability to answer the client's questions. We always find our clients are greatly relieved to find that editing their web pages is so straightforward and satisfying. Are you getting good results with an open source content management system? eZ Publish is a top-rated CMS. Don't take our word for it - Top Ten Reviews for web developers rate eZ Publish the second-best CMS on the market.
Online Training Screencasts aka Online Tutorials are useful to share with staff, customers, users of your website or online services, or prospects. You can use the format to introduce a service or explain a process to your membership.
Sometimes you need to encourage members to engage with an online community. A simple ‘how to‘ screen cast can be embedded in your website.
Tempting prospective members
You can use the ‘how to register’ process to reveal content that would be otherwise hidden. This is a great way to attract new members, users or subscribers by showing some premium or compelling feature which is inaccessible to non-subscribers.
Screen Recording Software
There are many types of screencast software. We use BB FlashBack Pro screen recorder an easy-to-use screen recorder to create compact, high quality movies for tutorials, demos and presentations. It's easy sharing with quick upload to YouTube and other video hosting sites.
Examples of screencasts
Here are two screencasts we have just produced for our not-for-profit UK client Executive Forum Alumni of St Albans. These tutorials have been designed to encourage engagement and increase access to the brilliant features of this online community website.
The first shows how to register or log in, to find opportunities, register for updates and apply.
The second tutorial is aimed at companies and entrepreneurs. It explains how to publicise a job or business venture opportunity with members of the EFA online community.
Once complete you can upload and share your screencast on YouTube and Facebook or you can embed it on your website or blog. To publicise it directly to your database send an email to your users, members or prospects.
Good luck with your screencasts. For more information about screencasts or other forms of online engagement for your membership community call EAB – we are experts in online community sharing solutions. See our Associations page to see which clients we support.
We've just produced this training video for users of the Herts Visual Forum. If you are an artist in Hertfordshire and want to sell more of your work - follow the instructions and sign up!