Constraints of a corporate web designer: Part 3 – Software to make a grown man cry (and it did)

After overcoming outdated browsers and crazy time scales the next web design Titan to face was the growing issues of software that had unusual and frustrating ‘features’.

All CMS software has its positives and negatives, some I have worked with proved to be a dream, easy for all involved from the developers through to the content editors publishing their work, some were not. When it works it is great, something that makes life so much easier for those who use it on a daily basis and for me there is a great satisfaction handing over a piece of work to the content team which not only looks and works as I wanted it from a customer perspective but is easy for all users whether they are an administrator or a user.

When the chosen software proves difficult to work with though it can be the undoing of a harmonious team. One of the CMS systems I worked with proved to be just that, and not only for us, on typing in the software’s name in to Google for some help regarding an issue the third result in the search engine thrown back was that said software is ‘not dead yet – but what’s keeping it alive’. That wasn’t encouraging. Though heavy investment meant we powered through in a system that was meant much more for back end development that for content management and front end design/development.

We faced issue after issue from it clashing with responsive scripts, to structures not allowing the transfer of content files even down to rewriting everything in a completely new language to obtain something easily achievable in jquery. With it being so new and so different to previous CMS systems I had worked on and the community being so small it led to most of my work on there being self-taught, which also applied to all others across our different teams. With little support systems in place, and those that existed being so poor, it meant that when problems occurred it was often hard to identify which area the problem lay and which team would be best to deal with it.

With intense deadlines to meet and problems arising constantly it meant the teams had to work closely together to achieve the end goal. This should be easy however working with different personalities in tough conditions meant that relationships became strained. As easy as it sounds I found it best to always accept responsibility for problems where possible, this seemed to diffuse situations with individuals who were quick to blame others, even if only part of the issue was down to me. I also made sure I constantly emailed and spoke to those who I worked with, even if they weren’t working on anything that I was involved in. This constant communication led to finding out what was going on as soon as it happened, rather than waiting to be informed and led to wrong assumptions being put right (something that happened a few times before I took this more direct approach). It also led to a fuller understanding of the overall structure which meant that problems that arose in isolation could be resolved, bringing together a team rather than pushing it apart and getting to grips more fully with the software

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