In the early days of web design we worked painstakingly into the night to create what we see now as pretty basic web sites. Adding in images and content into table based web pages to hold the content in place. At least that is what we hoped would happen. Generally at least trying to be sure that the finished website looked good in the version of Internet Explorer at the time and hoping that any differences in output that would be seen if someone was viewing one of the less well know browsers would be kept to a minimum. The rise in popularity of web browers like Firefox, actually made the whole job more difficult as now we really had to switch between browsers while creating a design to ensure that the pages always looked as good as possible. Oh the early days were fun! Were they? No. maybe not, but we persevered.
WYSIWYG programs like Dreamweaver actually didn’t help. It didn’t help me anyway. I actually learnt to write HTML and create my own stylesheets because Dreamweaver just couldn’t quite get it right. Moving then from table based design to CSS was a bit daunting. Obviously, cascading style sheets had been used in conjunction with the table based designs, but pure CSS design really did make web site design a lot simpler.
We were still designing websites in HTML and PHP. Mainly 5 or 6 page web sites that the client didn’t do much with except direct their customers to it for a little more information about their business. As the client couldn’t edit the website, actually getting the most relevant information into the web pages always caused a headache. The client was rarely on the ball enough to provide content at the required time and even if some content was forthcoming. The edits once the site was live was a bit of nightmare.
So now I come on to the savior of us all. The rise of the content management system has transformed web design forever. WordPress as we all know started as a blogging platform that has now transformed itself into a fully fledged content management system. and boy does it fly! Now my clients can add their own content. Their own images and make edits when they want to without ringing me up in the middle of the night. Yes, that has happened. Probably to all of us at one time or another.
Sure I have to keep an eye on things. Change a few things here and there to make sure the page is formatted correctly. spend some time showing the client how to add images and add pages. Mess around with menus and generally get an understanding of simple website editing. The clients these days certainly take much more interest in the website that I have created which gives me much greater job satisfaction. The design stage is much easier too. Themes are available for every type of business. The most up to date themes allow in depth CSS changes as well, making the need to edit the stylesheets less and less frequent.
A big thumbs up from me for the rise of the content management system.