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The user we all forget

When we design interfaces, we often use persona to create an image of our users. For each of them, we define use cases and user tasks to gain an insight into their requirements and yet there is one user we very often forget.

And this user is you, the person who manages the back-office behind the interface. 

In a previous project, the client wanted more consistency in the layout of the pages on the various products. Each product had its own product manager and they all created their pages in their own way.

We analysed the content and set up content types:

  • a header with an image and the name and price of the product. 
  • a block with a product description
  • a block with client testimonials
  • a block with more details about how to order the product.

Each block had its own design and could be used again on another page with the content of the product in question. We designed the templates for the blocks and all the product managers had to do was fill in the blocks and put them on a page. 

Simple. Problem solved!

But it turned out this was not the case. 

The product pages did not look at all as we had designed them. The problem was what's behind the interface. We had lost sight of one crucial element. The interface where the product managers enter the content was not in line with the templates. 

Instead of separate fields to be filled in and guidelines per block, the product managers were presented with an empty page. It was not clear where and how they had to fill in these blocks, so they went back to their previous method and the templates remained unused.

We all focused on the output, not on the input. 

As soon as we made the input more user-friendly, it became clear to all the product managers how they had to build their pages.

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