This article references the use of Content Types. I covered the concept of Content Types
Page Tables are a concept that is built on top of content types. If you’ve never heard of content types you should start by reading the article listed above.
Page Tables are simply the definition of each content type offered to the content manager that will be collecting content. Once they have the content types, they then have a template for exactly what information they need to gather when developing content for the website. This enables the team member to begin collecting, organizing and formatting content before the project is even in the design phase.
Using the example of “Class Location” from our previous Content Type article, the team member would be given the template of the content type, then asked to collect content for each of the fields.
For instance, this is the “Class Location” content type:
– Address 1
– Address 2
– Phone Number
– Link on a Google Map
The team member that is gathering the content will be responsible for collecting data for each of those fields, for each location. By having this page table prepared, their job is much easier. Plus, there is no room for error. If the content manager was left on their own to develop content, they may not collect important info like the location description or link on a Google Map. Or they may see that a field of information isn’t represented (perhaps the hours that the location is available) and they can slide that requirement into the project before the designers/developers get to work.
When our team first started using Page Tables we found that it was tough to get customers to understand their purpose. When they thought about writing content it was an overwhelming task and they simply wanted to open up Word and start dumping information on the screen. Or worse yet, they simply said, “Ah…no, we don’t need that. Our existing site already has all the content.” Building a new site is the perfect opportunity to focus on improving content and organizing information to help the reader find useful information in a fast and intuitive manner. But we were persisent and it paid off. By offering these Page Table templates to customers suddenly they were more organized, started to better understand the process and the structure of their content, and they delivered information to us that was perfectly formatted for the website.
I highly suggest taking this approach, especially when working with bigger customers that have thousands of pages of content. In the long run, you might find that they adapt the Page Table templates as part of their internal workflow which in turn makes their process and jobs much easier to manage.
One last note – it’s very important that the team member either collect photos that are very high quality to ensure future editing/cropping will work. Or, even better, if the project is past the design phase, the designer can go so far as to give the exact pixel dimensions to the content collector so they can begin prepping the imagery.
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