What everybody should know about EdWeb

As a new member of the Editorial Assistant team here at the University Website Programme, working with EdWeb will form a rather large chunk of my day-to-day activities. Therefore, it was vital that I formed a good working relationship with it right from the very beginning.

The task

With a background in German-English translation and product marketing, I came into the role with a somewhat limited knowledge of content management systems. Needless to say, I felt a certain amount of apprehension when I was presented with my first challenge: co-writing an EdWeb editorial guideline page for the University website. In order to successfully complete this task I would need to show others how to effectively use EdWeb while attempting to do this myself. Although this may seem to some like a slightly inefficient way of doing things, what it actually ended up doing was proving that the new CMS is incredibly accessible to everybody regardless of their technical ability. This project also afforded me the opportunity to get to know the new system and get a feel of its dimensions as an editing and publishing tool. Here’s what I found out:

First impressions

A training session in Writing for the Web will equip you with all the tools you need to successfully manage your own website. However, it takes a great deal of effort to convince someone with limited technical knowledge that they are not going to accidently delete an entire website with one false click. This is where I think EdWeb really excels. It’s a sturdy application. And by sturdy I mean that its easy-to-follow layout and design have been built to support the user through the editing and publishing process, making it relatively simple to make changes securely and without fear of breaking something. Everything does exactly what it says on the tin which results in an extremely user friendly and straight-forward experience. One CMS I had used prior to my position here at the University of Edinburgh – a German system named JTL Warenwirtschaft – felt almost flimsy in comparison. I found it to be somewhat unresponsive and oftentimes frustrating to use due to the overcrowded layout and ‘cleverly’ named links.

Thoughts after using it

EdWeb’s flexibility and consistency (with the exception of the word Atom/Asset – a minor inconsistency which is irrelevant when seen in context) is what makes it so efficient. New users are no longer like a cow on ice – they are the masters of their own website.

As EdWeb is still in its development process, its usability is only going to get better. Although I have never had the honour of working with Polopoly, I am confident that EdWeb will provide all users across the University with a simple and dynamic means of managing their websites and I look forward to watching it grow.

EdWeb Support wiki (requires EASE login)

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