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Admin Friendliness

Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:46 pm
by goodbyname

Early on when jumping into the website business, I quickly made the decision to choose Joomla! over the astoundingly popular Wordpress, because the features and basic idea behind it seems rather superior. I don't regret that. However, in making websites for clients I find that it is so extremely difficult to wrestle Joomla!, mainly the administration area, into a friendly and welcoming condition for the end user.

The simple fact is that while we are comfortable with the learning curve of the Joomla! backend interface, our clients are not. I spend more time trying to configure websites for front end editing and then trying to make the backend as 'nice' as possible for when access is necessary than I do in constructing the website.

I love Joomla!, I think it's superior, but -truthfully- as a website developer with clients, our number one focus has to be in making the website 'useable' by the 'client''s not about making it look good for the customers even if the client can't navigate the back end to alter content. We're not just up against Wordpress which has a simpler and more attractive interface, we're up against the glossy veneer of 'drag and drop' website builders such as Wix.

So, I don't know the solution here, but I do know that every time I introduce a client to the back end of their Joomla! site, they break a sweat. I've looked for great admin templates and I've spent hours (on each website) altering permissions to try and take 'most, and only most' of the scary clutter away from the admin area for the those need only to update content and add their media. We have to remember that our bread and butter is on the premise that a CMS makes it 'client friendly' so they can use their website and alter content without it being complicated.

I would like to know anyone's thoughts, but in honesty, I'm finding it difficult to talk folk around about the complicated mess that is their administration area. I think Joomla! administration is designed with the developer and designer community in mind, but we need to remember that the product ultimately ends up in the hands of the end user, being the 'client'. The person who is used to Facebook and Google user experience.

I would love to discuss (and learn) about the best ways to configure and use Joomla! (and present Joomla!) to clients, but I also have to make the tentative suggestion that -in its core- Joomla! needs to address the fact that we live in an age of Wordpress, Wix and whizzy, easy to use Google apps. Our administration area needs a tidy up....or some more options....or a default admin profile that is cleaner and hides away those things that are not directly related to 'content'.

I don't mean to make an empty suggestion, I would love to find some time to craft a great admin template to help solve this...or someone tell me where there is a great one. But shouldn't this be a default Joomla!?

Re: Admin Friendliness

Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:08 pm
by Webdongle
Give them a choice of having a static website that they can't change or a dynamic website that they can change. If they choose the latter then offer then the choice of learning how to use it or a range of prices for maintaining it.

They then have a choice of paying you to update etc or paying you to teach them how to do it.

Re: Admin Friendliness

Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:32 pm
by webiedesign
I understand your frustration and have traveled this road as well... The upcoming release of Joomla 3.7 includes admin menus. I downloaded it the other day and it is going to be great for our clients. You can easily create custom menus for your clients to eliminate the things they will never want to use. I also use administrator custom modules in the cpanel position that include link to tutorials and other user specific information so they have easy access to it when they login to the admin area.

Re: Admin Friendliness

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:09 pm
by goodbyname
Hi Webdongle,

yes, I do get that those are the choices -and that's what I have to offer- but that's exactly the point and that's exactly why a web developer using Wordpress, or even a business owner deciding to use Wix, is getting the edge on someone who uses Joomla!. Unfortunately, Wordpress looks easier and people think they can "Do It Themselves" with why pay a developer to maintain a website just because it's Joomla!? It just puts us at a disadvantage...and if Joomla! is to survive and remain a great competitor, then I think a core consideration needs to be a 'client' administration template that is simple clean and content based.

And hi Webiedesign, That's great news about Joomla 3.7 and the admin menus. Just to have a custom menu that holds everything they should be concerned with and nothing else...that's valuable. As for your other suggestions, they are great. I do link to tutorials but have not yet placed them there...that's a great idea. Thanks!

Re: Admin Friendliness

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:27 pm
by Webdongle
goodbyname wrote:... Unfortunately, Wordpress looks easier and people think they can "Do It Themselves" with why pay a developer to maintain a website just because it's Joomla!? It just puts us at a disadvantage...
Yep but perhaps some of them are getting fed up with the lack of flexibility in WP and that it keeps getting hacked. Maybe they start to realise how much of their time wix (and other diy websites) take. It could be that they want the design of their website to match their Branding.

Also many people don't realise that web design is just drawing pretty pictures and is only a very small part of a website. I would suggest the the problem is not with the options that Joomla affords but rather a failure to sell the benefits of a professional service as opposed to diy.