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EX first: how to improve the Editor Experience in Wordpress and Drupal

  • Author: alessandroSC

  • Date: 12 July 2016

Wordpress admin page

How long does it take to your Editors to learn and understand your new platform? What’s the maintenance cost of the platform? In few words, how is the Editor Experience on your new website?

Nowadays time is money and there is no point on trying to improve visits and revenues providing the best User Experience if your platform wastes time and money because of lack of Editor Experience.

In this article I will try to show the best tools and techniques to improve the EX in Wordpress and Drupal 7.

Wordpress

Let’s start with the most popular web platform in the world: Wordpress.
Today we will discuss how and when create custom post types is better than using tags or categories,, we will have on overview of Advanced Custom Fields, one of the most popular plugins and how to keep the admin bar clean and tidy to ensure the best EX on your platform.

Custom post types vs taxonomies

Content organisation is one of the key factors to consider when projecting a new web site. To achieve this you can use taxonomies, for example dividing posts by categories.
Let’s say we have 2 kind of posts, ‘News’ and ‘Features’, I can create as many posts as I want and give them the right category.
If after 6 months I need an other post type called ‘Opinion’, I can just create an other category and the job is done, the web site works fine.
But what if we need to look for a specific opinion post? You can use filters in the admin page to search it, hoping that we didn’t insert the wrong category when creating the post.
This is the tipical case of poor EX!
To avoid this kind of issues, Wordpress allows to create custom post types to better organise the content and you can use taxonomies in a custom post type to give more flexibility to your content.
In this way each content type will be listed in his own section in the admin area.
This is all documented in Wordpress Codex following in this link.

Advanced Custom Fields

ACF is a really popular tool to create additional fields in your post type.
Let’s say that we have a ‘Car’ post type and we want to specify the color of the car, you can add an additional field in the editor page.
It will be easy to print the custom fields in the template just using the_field() and get_field() functions in your php code.
ACF is available for free here.
A Pro not free edition is available as well. This version introduces the ‘Repeater field, which allows you to create a Repeater containing sub fields which can be repeated over and over!
So let’s say that we want our car post type can allow a single car to have multiple owners. Just create a repeater having a sub text field and the job is done, just go into your post and add as many owners as you want!
ACF is fully documented here.

Hide unused items in admin menu

Wordpress is a really simple and user friendly platform, but it’s easy to make the interface too busy for the editors when adding many plugins.
Let’s say for example that our website doesn’t use pages but only posts. There’s no need to show the Pages item in the admin menu as this will create confusion to the editor.
To remove an item from the admin menu, Wordpress offers the function remove_menu_page which is fully documented here.

Drupal 7

Drupal is one of the most popular Open Source CMS on the market for corporate websites.
Is tipical to use Views module to list items in a page, but this solution is not always ideal as the editor doesn’t have full control of the output.
Today we will learn how to improve the EX on our platform using two modules: Paragraphs and Inline Entity Form.

Paragraphs

Paragraphs is a module which helps developers to create a good Editor Experience adding a new ‘Paragraphs field’ to a content type and choose which Paragraphs Bundle this field can reference to.
Custom fields can then easily be added into a Paragraph Bundle and the style of the fields can be managed in the ‘Manage Display’ tab.
The editor can now manage the paragrah items inside the node editor interface.
Paragraphs module can be downloaded here and the basic documentation to start with it can is accessible here.

Inline Entity Form

This module allows to create an Entity Reference custom field using the Inline Entity Form Widget.
It means that you can add/create/remove a list of entities, for example a specific content type listed in a page, from the editor interface of the page . You can even sort the list order using the simpe drag and drop functionality that this module provides.
So if I have a Products page containing a list of products, I can manage the list of product items directly from the Products page interface!
This improves the Editor Experience because the editor can manage a list of items directly in the node editor page, saving a precious amount of time.
Inline Entity Form is avaialbe here.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article will  make life easier to your editors!