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Flexible Content Models by Claudia Urschbach
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Flexible Content Models by Claudia Urschbach

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About the advantages and disadvantages of a flexible content model, relates to everyone working with a content or document management system, affects web-publishing & cross-plattform publishing.

About the advantages and disadvantages of a flexible content model, relates to everyone working with a content or document management system, affects web-publishing & cross-plattform publishing.

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Flexible Content Models by Claudia Urschbach Flexible Content Models by Claudia Urschbach Presentation Transcript

  • Challenges of creating a f l e x i b l e Content Model 08/11/2007 [email_address] BBC – Future Media & Technology Content Management Culture
  • Overview
    • Background: Content Management at the BBC
    • What does content modelling have to do with UX?
    • Why would you want a flexible content model?
    • Challenges:
      • Creating and managing a content model
      • Communicating about a model
      • User Interface challenges
    • Questions 
  • Content Management at the BBC I
    • Over 200 websites, approx. 30 different web publishing solutions
    • 3.6 billion page views per month
    • 2 mayor in-house web publishing ‘players’:
      • News CPS - internal built, only used by bbc.co.uk/news
      • Documentum - bought in in 2002, customised, used by 3 content divisions (English regions sites, Drama & Comedy, parts of BBC Children)
  • Content Management at the BBC II
    • Situation: A multi-platform publishing organisation
      • Old content production: tv & radio
      • New content production: web, mobile, interactive tv
    • Objective: Value for money!  Making the most out of any content produced. BBC funded by license fee paid by UK citizens.
    • Content sharing & re-use
      • Re-use across platforms
      • Re-use in different context scenarios
      • Re-use across business divisions
  • What is a Content Model?
    • ‘ The thingy you create when you turn our designer’s photoshop file into code’ (my client’s project manager)
    • ‘ The model can define xml structures for any type of content’ (me)
    • ‘ The model defines what editors can do and can’t do with their website’ (our CMS-Trainer)
    • ‘ The model affects how you can display, target & search for content’ (T. Regli, 06/11/08)
    • ‘ A successful model enables to effectively gather information for the purpose of effectively distributing the information’ (B. Boiko, 07/11/07)
  • BBC News website Portal object containing elements like: Title Summary Link 1 Link 2 Image
  • BBC Local - Feature Body Text
  • BBC Children
  • BBC Mobile News
  • Process – Iteration 1 of a model
    • Identify publishing objectives & content needed (define functionalities and output designs)
    • Audit already existing content
    • Gap analysis: existing content vs. needed content
    • Create content model by identifying ’content chunks’ and their relationships to each other
    • Implement content model with designs
    • Train users of the CMS
    Iteration 2
  • User Experience
    • 3 types of users to have in mind when you do content modelling:
    • Users of the CMS - owners of information e. g. editors, product managers, engineers = everyone who enters information into your system
    • Users of the publication (= website, brochure, intranet...) - seekers of information e. g. members of the public, staff members, potential buyers = everyone who consumes the publication
    • Creators of the CMS - providers of the system e. g. developers, IAs, operational support team = everyone who is involved in the creation, maintenance and enhancement of the CMS
  • Different users, different requirements
    • Users of the CMS:
      • want easy to fill in online forms, don’t like training, hate entry fields they doesn’t know what to type in
      • request new functionality regularly
      • different CMS-user groups have different requirements
      • different publications have different requirements
    • Users of the publication:
      • like well-structured content and a good search
      • benefit from consistent user experience
    • Creators of the CMS:
      • need to be able to deploy upgrades as quickly as possible
     simple & flexible solution required
  • What defines a flexible model?
    • It’s not modelled to match 1 specific design. Designs change.
    • Elements of the model have been identified as truly meaningful ‘content chunks’ – rather then as content just presented together
    • Fewer generic objects - rather then many specific objects
    • Objects with core elements and a variety of additional optional elements - rather then specific objects with no flexibility
    • Open or generous character lengths for text fields - rather then 12 different title elements to match requirements of specific designs (that will change regularly)
  • Challenge 1: Granularity
    • The more chunks of content you identify and put as elements into a model, the more difficult it will be to maintain and enhance it
    • More elements means MORE …
      • lines of codes
      • specifications to define (e. g. character lengths)
      • difficult-to-reuse content chunks
      • fields to fill out for CMS-users
    • Structured content is good  BUT granularity kills the cat.
  • Challenge 2: Tools – Word & Excel Feature_Venue: Content Model
  • Challenge 2: Tools – Word & Excel
    • Word & Excel:
      • Information Architect/Business Analyst can specify model and decisions around
      • Developer needed to manually write XML
      • With more than 20-30 objects/page types updating gets difficult and often leads to bugs
  • Challenge 2: Tools - XML Feature_Venue: Rules File & Content Template
  • Challenge 2: Tools - XML
    • XML straight away:
      • Possible but you can’t capture notes around decisions
      • IA/ BA often don’t have skills to write XML so again developer is needed
      • XML is not suitable for communicating with clients
  • Challenge 2: Tools – an experiment
    • BBC experiement with PROTÉGÉ :
      • http://protege.stanford.edu
      • RDF/OWL based, open source software
      • Strict classification of all elements of the model in: Classes, sub-classes, instances & properties
      • Model sharable with other tools
      • Auto-generates XML  enables IA/ BA produce XML files & control UI of CMS-forms (e. g. order steps, label entry fields, label options in drop downs)
      • Developer time for initial configuration required
      • Training time for IA/BA required
  • Challenge 2: Tools – an experiment
  • Challenge 3: Communicating
    • Content models are genuinely abstract.
    • What you see on website is never just the model, it’s always content + design. This is misleading because models …
      • are independent from design
      • can contain non-visible information (e. g. metadata)
      • are made for capturing content platform-neutral.
    • You can see a content model by looking at XML but not many can read XML.
  • Challenge 3: Communicating
    • Another BBC experiment : Semi-Visuals
  • Challenge 3: Communicating
  • Challenge 4: User Journey
    • A flexible content model means that the user journey can vary a lot
    • Optional elements and entry fields mean that little validation can be included in the UI to check for a client’s specific requirements
    • However, trend anyway goes away from online forms to drag & drop solutions that don’t guide the user
    • User centred design process is a must to design UI for a flexible model. Key question: Do users understand what the core elements and what optional elements are?
  • Challenge 4: User Journey