Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Beauty of Having On-site Developers

Having in-house programmers who can modify our WCMS interface is a luxury that many WCMS users don’t have. It really comes in handy for the small changes that wouldn’t justify a consulting engagement. I had an example this week.

User testing showed that new and infrequent users just didn’t get how we were indicating required fields in our online forms. We had been using bold text to indicate a required field, but most new and inexperienced users were just missing that and entering something in every field. So we tried a few solutions and found the one that tested the best was putting a small gold diamond next to each required field. I know, there must be a standard somewhere that we are violating, but that’s not my sandbox. It tested well and customers seemed to like it.

The problem came in trying to describe the symbol in translated text. Some of our WCMS help popup templates don’t allow for graphics. But they do allow special characters such as TM symbols etc. I was afraid to just write text like, “Required fields are indicated with a small gold diamond.” due to translation issues. Our translation vendor does not have the best record with Asian languages in these matters. I was sure I’d get an angry call from China asking why we were indicating required fields with a “baby glowing crystal” - or something like that.

So, in passing, I asked the WCMS programmers if they could add the gold diamond symbol to our toolbar of special characters. And bam, there it was! I love having these guys here.

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