Some Sage Words About User Experience Management

September 16, 2015
I have a podcast. It's a comedy thing I do with an old friend of mine called You Better DON'T! (I came up with the awesome name, obvi.) Having a podcast doesn't make me special in any way; far from it. In fact, there are an estimated 115,000 English language podcasts out there right now, which is a staggering amount by anyone's standards. But here's the rub: there would easily be ten times that many if the process wasn't so arduous.

I'm not talking about the content itself, nor the recording and editing process, although each can be quite technical and time-consuming in its own right. I'm talking about what comes after: getting the thing on iTunes, syndicating content, scaling to meet the needs of thousands (and millions) of visitors, and the like. Finding the tools to do this -- ones that adapt and are quick to implement -- is the key. What starts out as a fun hobby can quickly turn into a business.

And then there's what may be the most overlooked step of all: putting everything together on a cohesive website to create a personalized experience for the visitor. On any device or through any app. After all, a good chunk of folks who listen to my podcast don't subscribe, which means they need to be directed somewhere else. Which, in turn, means I have to be ready for anything, anyone, or any app that wants to leverage my content.

Which brings us to content management systems: online platforms that allow publishing, editing and all forms of modification: Think WordPress or Movable Type. There are tons of content management tools. Too many in fact. Beyond that, there's the next step. The uber-important user experience, meaning going from content to commerce, the long-tail of this 'other stuff' for 'user experience,' and more -- think the folks over at Jahia. In the end, I made my pick, and I'm a pretty happy camper.

But prior to getting the process started, I kinda wish I had a sage old tech mentor to guide me in the right direction. Because given what I know now (through way too much trial and error), I'm pretty sure he would have dropped these bullet points on me:

• Look for good support. Whether it's product packages, hosting services, or strategic guidance, find a platform that's got your back. Especially since your needs will change as your project grows over time.

• Make sure it's mobile-friendly. These days, nearly half of all web traffic takes place on smartphones, tablets, et al. Not only do you want your site to look spectacular on these devices, you also want to be able to seamlessly upload and manage your content on them. (And build an army of raging fans too.)

• Customization and core functionality are key. Content management features are pretty much all the same. Without apps that allow you to quickly plug in new features, your project can quickly devolve from a creative outlet to a weekly, soul-crushing grind.

Bottom line: the online experience is all about content in context. And without the right platform, your podcast, your business -- or heck, anything else for that matter -- is going to suffer. So be sure to heed the wise words of the tech mentor I just invented. He's a pretty smart fella, that guy.

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