The painful gap

Over the years I’ve been involved in many web sites. A lot of them have been built on top of a CMS. It’s this type of web site I will discuss today.


There is a gap between the editors and the people building. We are often building shells and are later surprised by the errors. We need to work together and we need a plan to change this.

In this article I will talk about the gap. Because over the years, and especially today with the rise of responsive design, it’s painfully obvious that there is a gap. I’m talking about the gap between us and the editors. The editors are the people responsible for putting in content on a web site but for some reason they rarely work together with the people that are building the site or maybe I should say the shell? Because that is actually what a site without content is. The sad fact is that it’s “just” a shell that we often deliver to our customers.

There is a lot of talk today that when building a responsive site every skill has to work together as a team. We need to sit together, talk to each other and we need to cooperate. This includes backend developers, frontend developers, ux people, designers, project managers and what else but in reality it rarely includes editors. In a best case scenario you get to meet the editors once a week or so but you do not work together. This is what I mean with the gap. There is a gap between all of us as a team and them. After the big release of a new web site things slows down for the team that built the shell but the editors keep working. Now the gap is even bigger.

This gap is a problem. What often happens is that content is being put up on the site without feedback. The group of editors might not have a big library of test devices. They might not know the difference between bad and good HTML (even though they should). They might not understand why certain images is not working. Because of this the quality of the site is often slowly going downhill.

So how would I like it to be? Well, during development of a new web site I would like all of the editors to be part of the team as much as possible. We should all work together, sit together and give good feedback to each other. Instead of buidling and deliver a shell we would actually build a full site. There also needs to be a plan for the content that lives on a website. What type of content should be put up? Tone of voice for text and images? Who is putting up content and when? How do we report content-errors? When and how do we evaluate what is being put up? This list could go on. I guess this is somehow included in the concept for a web site but I often find that it needs to be more down to earth. I need dates and names.

I think we can do much better when it comes to building and maintaining web sites. Are you with me on this?