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Should the Content-Editor do this? #2 Module Settings

Whenever I see features in a CMS I always ask myself: Is this something my customer is capable of using - without messing everything up? So I ask you: when should the UI allow the content-editor to do something, and when should it not allow Mr. Marketing or Mrs. Secretary to do something?

Let's continue with Module Configuration.  

Another Example: Configure a Carousel

THE Historical DNN-WAY

Most DNN-Modules provide many, many settings - believing that un-techie content-editors can now create great stuff . In reality, most settings like "Use Bootstrap" or "Grid Adjustment" are not useful for non-techies, but most modules mix them in with the non-techie settings. Thereby the settings suddenly need a much deeper techie understanding than originally intended - but there's no good way to only show them to the web-designer. 


Some settings make sense for the content-editor, but most settings are actually an attempt to make the module "fit more use cases" - thereby making it unnecessarily complex. We (2sic) believe that the content editor should have as few options as possible - limited to his needs in this specific design. We should take care of everything else. 


The OWL-Carousel is an open-source JavaScript slider/carousel. It's awesome and has loads of features. The way we implement this on our customers web sites, is like this:

  1. Install the basic App - which does most of the basics (responsive etc.)
  2. Make sure that the content-editor can't see the advanced App-Settings
  3. Then we adjust the settings/visuals to fit the design. We do this in the few lines of JavaScript which are in the HTML-template. These settings are easy to apply (OWL has great documentation) and it's faster to place them in the JS than to figure out a good way to surface these settings in a settings-dialog. 
    These settings now apply to the whole site, and the customer cannot break it!
  4. If the customer needs another specific look - we just create another view for him, with those custom settings. 
    Again: settings apply, customer can't break it and can't get confused
  5. If the customer really, really needs to configure something (like how many images are side-by-side), then this is project specific. We create a settings-dialog (takes 5 minutes in 2sxc).
    This way the customer has only 1 setting - and can't get overwhelmed. 

Agree/disagree? Got a better suggestion? 

With love from Switzerland,

Daniel Mettler grew up in the jungles of Indonesia and is founder and CEO of 2sic internet solutions in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, an 20-head web specialist with over 600 DNN projects since 1999. He is also chief architect of 2sxc (2SexyContent - see forge), an open source module for creating attractive content and DNN Apps.


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