Content · Content curation

Non-tech founders' experience working with developers and editing content

Aleksandra Czajka Freelance Senior Software Engineer, Developer, Web Developer, Programmer - Full Stack

January 15th, 2020

Evening Everyone!


I'm curious to know non-tech founders' experience with needing to edit copy/images on a site or app that you're building.


In my experience with building sites/apps a lot of my time is wasted with requests from my non-technical team members to edit copy/images - time that I could be using to keep building out logic for the site/app, etc. The problem is that, even though it's just text, it's surrounded by code (so not entirely straight forward for non-tech members to edit) and a lot of the time (even after teaching my non-tech members how to use git, edit the text etc.) my non-tech members do not want to touch it for fear of messing something up.


There's a lot of content admin systems out there, however they take time to set up and a lot of them just save the content in the database (rather than in the project itself) which is bad for SEO and speed of the site (since you need to grab the content from db.)


I'm working on a project that fixes this issue, however before we get too far with it, I want to know whether other non-tech founders find this to be an issue as well.


Any thoughts and ideas welcome!

All my best and happy evening!

Daniel Turner Available

January 15th, 2020

(The site seems to be having trouble with login, so replying via email. Apologies.) I’d push back against the idea that text is "just text". What you choose to write, how you write it, and how people will comprehend it or not, is vital. Similar with what images you choose, how they’re presented, and what they may connote across cultures and abilities. For example, it’s not quite clear to me what the issue is here. That people want to edit text and images? That they can’t do so directly, and need technical support to do so? Who owns or is responsible for the text and images? Are there different sections of the site that different people work on the text and images for? Why is it such a high technical cost to make changes? Or, maybe, is your company’s process for writing content and choosing images not established, so there needs to be lots of revision on a shipping project? Taking the most general case, it sounds like you could use a functioning CMS as well as a content strategist who could help you set up an efficient process for building, editing, and maintaining content.

Aleksandra Czajka Freelance Senior Software Engineer, Developer, Web Developer, Programmer - Full Stack

Last updated on January 15th, 2020

Daniel,


Thank you for your reply!


We might be coming from two different perspectives - or rather, thinking about two different types of "organizations" or "teams". The teams I'm talking about are start-ups who usually do not have time or money to waste and, in addition, are building MVPs with messaging needing to change due to customer feedback. In a bigger organization, things can (and do) take longer, content is set in stone for at least a few months, and content managers are more experienced and take more time to determine the content way before we get to the developers to implement it.


So, consider the scenario I face all the time: I'm working on a limited budget and, of course, want to meet that budget. My client (the founder) is working on making sure the messaging to the users is clear and concise. As I'm building out the platform with the initial layouts/content, the platform is live and customers are providing feedback. Content needs to change because more and more customers are providing the same feedback. Now, if there's no one else to edit the content, (mind you my aim here is to make sure I finish all the functionality within a specific budget) I'm taken away from my work on the functionality to editing content. To the founder it seems like "oh, but it's just text and not any functionality", however it takes me out of concentration and adds to my time.


I'm interested in other start-up owner's experience with this. How do you mitigate this? Do you find yourself in the same corner? Do you plan the content out better?


Last thing I'll mention is, if I was not technical and building a web/mobile app, since I paid for the thing, I would most definitely want to have access to edit my own content.


Once again, wondering about other people's experience with this issue.


All my best,

Aleksandra



Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

January 29th, 2020

Hmm, in your second note it sounds like you may be racing to get your MVP built instead of spending more time validating your assumptions about how customers will use your product and what they want. Therein, you keep going back to make changes, which costs money, instead of waiting until you've figured out the parameters before coding.


Your research should be informing you of a few things:

1) what's required functionally to make it worth using at all

2) the logical process that happens when someone tries to complete a task your product is design to help with

3) how information needs to be organized so it is logical to someone who frequently does the task your product helps do

4) the absence of which functions will prevent a majority people from wanting to use your product


Making it pretty comes later. Yes, you should inherently design your early product knowing that UX/UI will be improved later. But if you have completed the research steps above, you will know what images are appropriate and what layout is appropriate, and not be changing it after the initial wireframes are built. Your next UI change won't be until you have users and you've gotten rid of the functional bugs.


People will use and forgive something that's a little ugly if it does what it promises to do, isn't hard to figure out, and delivers adequate value. Your early adopters can contribute ideas on how to improve your product appearance, but you should not be making those kinds of edits right now unless not making them means something is functionally broken.