Client Generated Content November 3rd, 2009

One of the difficulties in developing websites is that many clients focus on the look and feel of their site without actually having any concrete ideas about what they intend to do for their content. It’s as though they are stuck in a “field of dreams” movie, where they assume that if the pages are built, the content will magically appear.

They have problems getting beyond the basic statement that they want to offer some service or product, and they have an email address. Sometimes it is possible to coax them into thinking about the cloud of “who, what, where, when, why” that creates the content of a site. But sometimes they plead that they don’t have the time, or that they don’t want to put specifics on their pages because they need to talk with prospective clients.

It’s not always easy to know what this represents. Sometimes they simply don’t know what they want to say beyond “trust me and buy this”. Sometimes it’s a problem with organizational skills, or with language skills. Sometimes it is a basic lack of understand about what makes their pages worth retrieving.
see essay on Worthwhile Content, (in an older blogger format)

In a case where the pages are formatted, but promised content never arrives, an installation of Word-Press can help the web designer by giving them a way to place the onus of content development on the client. Giving client access to the word press editor means that the designer can set up the design of basic pages, but the client has the opportunity to edit those pages content at their own pace.

In a sense it is a cop-out. Many people will not have the skills to use even the simple word-press interface, much less drupal or joomla. An even greater number of educated people can’t write well enough to describe their dreams. But if you have coaxed them to produce basic text, offered them pre-constructed paragraphs to edit, shown them outlines of possible ways to approach their topic, and they still balk, sometimes all you can do is give them access to their pages and offer to help them with editing the text when they have it.