GatherContent is a Useful Thing
Now and then, we get excited about a new tool, website, or trend. We think of them as "Useful Things" and we'll be sure to share them with you here...
The only reason people visit your website is for content. You have it; they want it.
Thus, when designing a website, we have to ensure that every sliver of content—from microscopic blocks of text to enormous banner images and everything in between—is included.
But how? After all, many of the websites we build at TradeMark Media can be comfortably described as "content rich"—i.e., containing thousands of individual pages, each of which might be packed with thousands of words, images, and interactions. How do we ensure that when a new website launches, it's filled with the right content in the right places?
GatherContent is the online software we use to organize, account for, and manage content during a website redesign. If you're considering doing a content overhaul on your website, you could do a lot worse than GatherContent.
View Content from 30,000 Feet
Websites are like caves: You enter at the top and work your way down. As you move deeper into the site (the cave), new paths fork out, new paths appear. For large, content-rich websites—e.g., many of the sites we build have thousands of individual webpages—site hierarchy is critical. You don't want to get lost.
GatherContent provides an interactive view a site's final hierarchy:
Main navigation items are arranged with their relevant sub-pages underneath—much like a sitemap. GatherContent users can see, at a single glance, the relationship between every page and section of their website. It makes planning easy and contextual.
Get Up Close and Personal with Your Website Content
GatherContent allows us to, in essence, "mirror" the page layouts of the new website. There's a place for every word, image, button, link, video, etc. that will eventually appear on the website itself:
- Text fields can be assigned a character limit to ensure text doesn't "break" the page design/layout because it's too long.
- In-line commenting allows our clients to collaborate on the content itself.
- Attachment or upload fields can list the image dimensions required and/or the number of images needed.
Getting the Work Done On Time
Some websites are written primarily by one person. Others require a committee for every decision. However our clients decide to tackle their content, GatherContent allows us to create a workflow that mirrors their process.
For example, we might set up GatherContent with this simple workflow:
In this example, our client would enter their content and, along the way, mark each page as "Content Drafted" (#1). Once their Legal department has reviewed those pages, they'd change the status to "Approved by Legal" (#2). Once they were ready for us, TradeMark, to look over their content, they'd change the status of any/all pages to "Ready for TradeMark Review" (#3).
Next, we'd give our feedback on the content and then set it to "Ready for Final Client Approval" (#4). Once the client hopped into GatherContent and looked over our content edits, made their own, and felt confident about it, they'd set it to "Approved & Ready for CMS Integration" (#5).
Finally, we would integrate all of the pages into the client's new content management system (CMS) and mark it in GatherContent as "Integrated into CMS" (#6).
At each step, everyone involved in the project would know precisely where each page of content is in the review and approval process.
Random Collection of Additional Advantages of GatherContent
- Color Coding. Items being drafted are marked with a specified “Draft” color. When the page is ready for the next step in the process—often times either an internal review or a review by TradeMark—the status of the page can be updated to reflect the color of the next step in the process, all the way through the page being integrated into the site and no longer being editable in GatherContent. Color coding gives an instant visual insight into how much work has been completed and how much remains.
- Project Status Graph. GatherContent’s “Overview" area displays the number of pages in each stage of the workflow. It then takes those numbers and shows them across a Project Status graph. It’s a great feeling to see the Project Status graph completely filled with the “Integrated into CMS” color!
- Calendar. Pages can be assigned to team members and given a due date. The team member is notified if they miss their due date.
- Status Updates. When updating the status of a page, a user can notify her other team members, via email, that the page has been updated and is ready for their review.
- Comments. Commenting on pages or specific text within fields allows for an ongoing conversation within the page of content.
The Final Verdict
We aren't getting paid for this article, we swear!
We're just big fans of user-friendly, well-designed tools that help us help our clients. GatherContent is the best tool we've found to make sure the most important part of a website—the words and images that will fill it—are properly cared for.