Small Shop Blues: Getting Your CMS Users to Help Themselves

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Content Management

Small Shop Blues: Getting Your CMS Users to Help Themselves

When I go to conferences, I occasionally feel a tinge of jealousy when I see an institution that has sent a web team that consists of multiple people. We’ve taken the “do more with less” thing to heart here and our web team consists of me and the other guy. We both have other duties, so on our good days, we add up to about one whole person. Given that, we take full advantage of any way we can use OU Campus to help us out. Delegation and content management are some of the more obvious ways OU Campus helps. But if you really want to maximize your time, getting your users to help themselves is probably the place where you can make the most impact. Let’s go over some features you could be promoting that your users might not be familiar with.

Versions and Compare

Some of the biggest time eaters on a website are fixing errors. We all make mistakes, but self-inflicted injuries are a nuisance, and getting people to help themselves is never going to be a bad thing.

First off, show your users how to use the Versions and Compare features. (A quick lesson: when in the Pages list view, check the page out, hover over it, hover over Review, and select Versions. It can also be accessed while in the page Preview or Edit mode.)


It’s nice to be able to revert to a previous version when something is amiss. At Lock Haven, we don’t require authorization to publish on our community site and we occasionally have instances where two people in an office update the same page with different information. It’s helpful for them to be able to view and compare those pages side by side to see how to best incorporate any conflicting or complementing information. It also might be a good idea to teach your users how to save a version. It’s beneficial for users working on a typically static page that has new information, but that only needs to be displayed for a short time.

Recycle Bin

Recycle BinSimilarly, show your users how to use the Recycle Bin. We see numerous users delete pages without realizing that people are linking to the pages or using them in some way. Giving users the ability to restore deleted pages themselves can ease the burden of an administrator. And it helps to remind your users where they can find the Recycle Bin (Content menu). Teach them how to sort and use the filter as well, or you may get claims that they can’t find the file they want to restore.

One last thing. Don’t forget that you have changes in the people who edit your pages. Temporary faculty are hired, people retire and are (hopefully) replaced, and duties shift. Make sure you have something in place—periodic training sessions, reminder emails, even an OU Campus support page on your website—to teach or remind your end users about these features.

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