Site relaunch (2)
One of the problems with the current site design is that the "back stage" where content is created looks exactly the same as the "stage" where content is presented to readers. This is especially clear when there are tables or images that run into and over the sidebars when a post is being created, even if the post will look fine to readers after being saved. The same problem shows up when there are a lot of toolbar buttons or fields to choose from: They end up getting stacked on top of each other in the narrower column made necessary by the sidebars. (This problem is especially evident to me as an admin; some of the admin screens are just horrible.) Getting rid of the sidebars back stage solves these layout problems.
So, herewith the new back stage with some high-level notes on the design. This is the form for creating a Quick Hit. I added some annotations:
1. Integrated help. Good for new contributors! Old timers don't heed Help, really, but I bet even old timers aren't aware of all the bells and whistles the site has, let alone the new ones I am installing. I did some tech doc in a past life, so my help reads that way, for good or ill. Suggestions welcome!
2. Required fields first. Enter the title, enter the body, Preview, Save is the normal workflow, no? But the current form is cluttered and doesn't follow that order. So I re-organized it to put the required fields first.
3. WYSIWYG editor. I think for new writers and those who aren't completely confident technically, the Word-like toolbar, the cute little icons, and "Look! I pressed the Bold button and my text is bold!" (instead of being marked STRONG) are all a draw. And we want new writers, no?
In addition, for good or ill developers think that WYSIWYG is cool, and so functionality ("Bells and whistles") gets created in that context: Tables -- a very handy and analytical presentation device -- are just one example; I will present others when I make some videos on the editors.
4. And for the Old School (including, generally, me) the existing editor is still available. It's not the default, since the goal is to attract new writers, but can be selected. (Before you ask, there is no easy way to default to editor to your personal preference. I have tried.)
So that is the approach to creating a better back stage environment for writers, especially new writers. More to come when I create videos this evening.