Once the CMS is installed on your servers, you think of a million things you wish you’d done that you didn’t. And there isn’t exactly a “higher education web developers redesign manual” anywhere. Even if there was, it wouldn’t help you much since each school has their own problems, issues and internal concerns to navigate during their redesign process. Again, my experience is with the smaller school environment and so I’m used to wearing lots of hats and putting out lots of fires.
It was important once the CMS arrived for me to find ways to break it. Ok, not really. But I worked hard to find problems with it. I wished I could’ve had it a month before launch, but we didn’t get it setup and installed until about two weeks before initial launch. It wasn’t awful, but I worked pretty hard to find what I could and discover critical areas of consternation throughout it.
Part of my frustration with proprietary CMS relate to my initial experiences during this time. There were so many poorly thought decisions made in the UI design that I remain befuddled as to what anyone could have been thinking when they were developing it. Makes me think that non-tech savvy end users ought to be employed to beta test things more often. Because if they’re the clientele, then they should get their hands on the product to see if it’s really what it says it is.
Ours was and was head and shoulders above what we had before. That to me, deems it a success. But it’s important to look critically at the product and to use any free tech support time or help from the developers as a chance to get them to reveal things to you. If you wait too long, you’ll regret it.