Building better backend experiences

Usable interfaces aren't just for the frontend.

Let's face it, between self-imposed deadlines, bug fixes, and customer change requests, there never seems to be enough time in the day to get things done. As a developer with some background in design and UX, I have seen my fair share of horrible interfaces and difficult if not impossible to use CMS’s. I've made it my job to build backend interfaces that are not only easy to use but easy to understand. Today I'll be sharing a few things I've learned along the way and hopefully help you understand how to build a better backend for your websites.

Let's start with the basics

What is a CMS (Content Management System)?

Consider this analogy, if the frontend (what the end-user sees and interacts with of your website ) is your body then the backend is the brain. It is essentially the part of your website that controls nearly every aspect of how things function. Without a CMS, it would be difficult for a non-web savvy user to update and operate their website effectively. On the same token, a poorly designed CMS experience could be just as devastating for a number of reasons.

Aside from simply needing a website refresh, a horrible CMS experience seems to be the #1 reason clients want out of their existing sites. We've all heard the Joomla, Drupal and even Wordpress horror stories. I'm sure these CMS's are great in their own right and are not fundamentally at fault for the bad experiences most customers who come to us seem to have. Below I will go over a few tips on what you can do to ensure a good user experience for your backend no matter what CMS you choose.

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.