A List Apart: Strategic Content Management

If you're involved in designing, developing, supporting, working with, changing, upgrading, or selecting some sort of content management system, you owe it to yourself to read this article and heed its advice.  A good content model is important to make a system useful to the intended users.  A good content model also has to be flexible and extensible, especially as you iterate and improve it.  A good content management system has to be pliable to meet your content model, instead of imposing its own one-size-fits-all model on you.  However, that flexibility means you'll need custom development to get what you want.

As Karen McGrane says, it’s easy to sketch a faceted navigation on a wireframe. It’s more difficult to implement a CMS to power the implied taxonomy, and to commit to ongoing editorial maintenance over time. A wireframe without a corresponding content strategy and a realistic CMS design is a work of fantasy. A CMS that could realize one of these fantasy wireframes would need plenty of magic pixie dust. We need content strategy to help us decide which of our aspirations is feasible; CMS design is an essential part of that decision.

A List Apart: Articles: Strategic Content Management