Recently a client requested a simpler way for certain users to add new content to their Latest News blog.
Much as I love Joomla for the flexibility and vast multitude of options it allows, the flipside is that in some cases, there are just too many options for an end user with simple requirements.
I've been building Joomla websites since 2006, and back then the main request from clients was "we want to manage it ourselves". As a result, we've always provided clients with backend access to their own website, managed by ACL to keep them away from anything that could break the site, and enough training to assist in "managing it themselves".
This is great for clients with a technical bent who really want to manage their own website. The problem is, "managing it yourself" also means managing software updates, security management and backups to prevent and/or recover from website compromises, and for some clients, this is way more "managing" than they actually want! For this reason, in 2017 we started offering a Joomla Managed Maintenance service, which basically means we look after the technical stuff, and the client can focus on the content. For some clients, we do their Content as well.
This means that in some cases, we can switch people to a frontend login and remove a whole bunch of clutter for them.
The default Joomla frontend content editor has all the information you might ever need, across 4 tabs. But whenever we used this, we found ourselves directing clients "don't forget that tab", "don't worry about that field", "make sure you put something in there". And then there was all the busy-ness around that form, distractions everywhere. For clients who log in infrequently, this can be extremely confusing, and therefore daunting.
To make frontend content editing easier, I used information from these two really useful articles: Brian Teeman - Simplifying Joomla Content Editing - Part 2, and a Joomla Magazine article by Sander Potjer - Creating an Article in Joomla! Has Never Been This Easy! We use a different editor and template, and I had to do a few other tweaks including add the Language field, as the submitted Articles were appearing in the backend with no language set. But the theory is the same.
The new form condenses only the really important fields onto a single page. It includes instructions, and also combines the intro/full image so a user only has to upload one image.
- Log in
- Add a Title
- Add words
- Upload an image
- Click Save
and they're done!
Here's the end result - what do you think? Please let us know if we can help improve your website.