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June 28, 2019

Making Content Management Systems More Manageable

Improving Content Management

A Customized CMS for Elements Financial

In today’s business world, companies and organizations need to be able to keep their own websites up to date. That’s why, in addition to making sure the websites we create for our clients are user-friendly for site visitors, we also make it easy for those maintaining them. How is this possible? With a content management system (CMS). A CMS enables non-technical staff to quickly and easily update most aspects of a website—change copy and images, create new pages—without relying on a design or programming team. And with two full-time web programmers on staff, we are able to customize content management systems that fit the exact needs of our clients.

As an example, when we undertook a complete redesign of the Elements Financial Credit Union website, we learned they had a lot of frustrations with their prior CMS. Some of their most important tasks were tedious and time-consuming, and they really hoped we could provide a positive change with our solution for their new site.

Figure A: Homepage - CMS View 
Figure B: Homepage - Live View 

One of their frustrations was getting the word out about good interest rates, one of their best sales points. Site editors avoided posting them outside of rates tables because it was a cumbersome task that involved updating the rates in multiple places—up to 200 different web pages! If one was missed, confusion and even legal consequences could follow.

Disclosures were similarly difficult to maintain. They had to be carefully tracked so that all instances could be changed when updates were needed. For this reason, the language in disclosures was kept as generic as possible, excluding rates and other timely information in order to limit the number of edits.

Figure A: Disclosures - CMS View 
Figure B: Disclosures - Live View

Williams Randall knew what to do. Our technical goal for the new Elements website was to make it easier for non-technical resources to keep the content updated and legally compliant. To meet that end, we chose to put our custom touch on Umbraco, a free, modern, scalable content management system that delivers a seamless experience across all devices.

Our technical goal for the new Elements website was to make it easier for non-technical resources to keep the content updated and legally compliant.

We built the front-end interface of the new site with users in mind, but we built the CMS for the editors, relieving pain points for both. The customized CMS allows Elements Financial to edit rates in just one place, and the new rate instantly appears wherever the rate code is employed. Disclosures are also centrally edited using copy-and-paste codes that automatically create superscript reference numbers and add disclosures to the footer of the page.

Another customization makes it easier to manage the aesthetics of the site. One of the prominent design elements on the site is the product icon—over 80 icons are in use. We created a custom icon selector with labels to simplify selecting an icon for use on a page, enabling consistency in their use for years to come.

Figure A: Product Icons - CMS View 
Figure B: Product Icon - Live View 

Finally, we created a templating solution for the events section to save time and unify messaging for recurring events. Now, when an editor creates an event in the CMS, the template is filled with the marketing team’s approved content. The editor can adjust the information if needed, but once the event is published, the CMS admin receives an email notification to ensure new and updated events are following established patterns.

The bottom line is that updating rates, disclosures and other content throughout the site is now a snap, which makes the marketing team happy. And legal risk is greatly minimized, which the lawyers love. Elements Financial says the finished site has exceeded expectations, and Williams Randall is proud to have built a working site that is a pleasure for both site editors and visitors to use.

Details

  • Services
  • Strategic Planning
  • Creative Strategy
  • Project Management
  • User Research
  • Information Architecture
  • Responsive Design
  • Content Strategy
  • Content Development
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Custom Programming
  • CMS Buildouts
  • Mobile Design
  • Website Analytics
  • Client
  • Elements Financial
  • Industry
  • Banking/Financial

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