Spring brings new beginnings… and our new CMS

John Pike - UX Designer

The ease and usability of a CMS platform tends to determine whether or not website administrators, developers and client content admins smile or tear their hair out!

 

 

We have been delivering our current CMS platform for several years to our fantastic client base. We’ve found it adaptable to a variety of industries from food, retail and hospitality to the housing sector. Client such as Serco, Infinity Motorcycles, Warner Bros, Englefield Estate, Bombay Sapphire Distillery and Vivid Homes have all benefited.

However, we believe there is always room for improvement and we actively seek and listen to feedback from our clients as well as from our internal development and project teams.

Having had the tried and tested CMS in place for so many years, we decided it was an excellent opportunity to take all our feedback and dig into a complete update and overhaul; re-imagining it from the ground up from a form and function perspective.

We also wanted to expand on the CMS’s “future proofing”, ensuring it will flexibly expand as and when we spot additional opportunities for improvements and enhancements.

We are fans of feedback, so we began by collating all our user testing feedback and started building a view of the specification and requirements. With a content structure mapped out, we created an interactive prototype in Axure Pro, allowing our team to focus purely on the user experience. After initial prototype user testing, we refined to ensure we had the most ideal user flow.

Happy with that flow, we then released it to our design team for the user interface. Taking a “less is more” approach, we strove for simplicity and ease of styling. Too often, we have utilised other back end systems that felt cluttered or overwhelming or both. We took the belief that successful user interfaces should be intuitive… if you have to explain it, you have done something wrong!

We applied our clean, simple style sheet over our skeleton prototype.

Our team are certainly pleased with our completed new Laravel CMS. With careful thought and consideration, we’ve redeveloped it and have a system we are proud to present. It is full of personality, easy to use and feature rich:

  • Dashboard ensures quick access to your site content, activity log, analytics and feedback

  • User experience has been redefined based on years of feedback and testing

  • Colour customisation provides a more personalised and unique experience

  • An enhanced user interface with clear content hierarchy and structure

  • New and intuitive media library ensures clear file structuring and easy uploading

  • Images are automatically compressed to reduce file size when uploading. An important feature when site speed, image optimisation directly affects Google rankings!

  • New drag and drop functionality allows users to build pages more efficiently and dynamically

  • Speed optimisation across the board using open source Laravel

  • Set roles and permission levels for users

  • Easily duplicate tree structures and create bespoke menu items

  • Easily duplicate sections of the website to kick start your content population

  • Improved performance on the front and back end using bespoke caching mechanisms

  • Integrated with Apache Solr as standard, allowing for more efficient full text searching (on the front end) and rich taxonomies for categorisation

  • Field tested scalable / secure solution which is an easy to extend platform used by both small and large corporate organisations

  • Adheres to best practice in terms of architecture / data structures and algorithms used to enhance efficiency and productivity

  • Makes use of micro services so applications are more maintainable and scalable thus provisioning the platform for the future.

So, why Laravel?

Well, as expert PHP Developers, we are fans of the open source Laravel ecosystem. It has a strong online community which we feel is always a good sign and, having been around for well over 7 years it is a mature platform. Laravel is also growing strongly, new tools are launched constantly which keeps us on the front edge of offering best of breed when it comes to our development.

They have complete documentation which, for development teams, is always incredibly useful and it is one platform that actually offers really beautiful, intuitive code.

Whilst we can build across a wide variety of CMS platforms, we decided to build our own CMS using the Laravel framework as it is both robust, scalable and most importantly secure.

And what’s next?

A refined, rebuilt CMS that is informed by our clients feedback and our developers knowledge is a great thing! Whether you are an existing client looking to upgrade or a new client looking for a more efficient CMS, we are excited to offer an excellent user experience for your website.

So don’t hesitate to get in touch for your website and development needs.

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