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Experience Debt progress update

The Experience Debt initiative is an undertaking to address a number of improvements to the Silverstripe CMS user experience. As our Product Development Team progress through this work over the coming months, we’ll periodically update this post.

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The Experience Debt initiative is a project the Silverstripe Product Development Team have undertaken, focusing on improvements to the Silverstripe CMS user experience. ‘Experience debt’ refers to the experience provided through the CMS which is not intentional, or which is inadequate for its intended purpose. It’s the accumulation of the friction points that as a user, you may experience when performing common tasks in the CMS.

Although these improvements will be incremental, the project’s ultimate goal is to reduce the experience debt currently present in the Silverstripe CMS. You can read all about the initiative here including our key focus areas and how we identified the specific issues we aim to resolve.

We’ll be working through these issues over the coming months and we’d like to keep you up to date as we progress. As we tick each issue off, we’ll update this post with an overview of the work and a link to the Github issue. We’ll also share updates in the Silverstripe Slack community workspace in #news-and-updates, on Twitter, and in Github.

Update: As of January 2020, this initiative has come to fruition. All the improvements highlighted below are now available with the latest release, Silverstripe CMS 4.5. However, continually improving the CMS user experience is an ongoing focus of our Product Development Team. If you’ve got feedback on Silverstripe CMS, we'd love to hear from you.  

Experience Debt updates

Rewording the actions for uploading files

Update: 17 December 2019

A steady stream of user feedback has resulted in community members submitting a change to rename the actions when choosing where to upload a file from. These provide more context than previous links: 'Upload new' and 'Choose existing'.

Link to Github issue: #765

Better defaults for alt text for WYSIWYG images

Update: 17 December 2019

Content managers may have been aware of a long standing issue where the 'alt text' of an image (if left empty) would default to the filename. This functionality is now gone, leaving it to the CMS user to decide if alternate text is required.

Link to Github issue: #983

Addition of a new tip component

Update: 17 December 2019

A new ‘tip’ component has been created. We’ve added it to the image alt text and tooltip fields to provide more information for CMS users, but it can also be added to any React-based text field in the CMS that may need a longer description or ‘tip’ on completing.

Link to Github issue: #983

More control over image quality in the WYSIWYG

Update: 3 December 2019

Silverstripe CMS makes quick work of scaling high resolution images down to a default resolution that fits on your webpage. However, previously, this default setting would result in small images being scaled up, often resulting in a pixelated image. Now, we've made it easier to remove this default setting with a quick toggle between 'Best fit' or 'Original size'.

Link to Github issue: #961

Flexible sizing options for WYSIWYG images

Update: 3 December 2019

As part of the enhancement above, when adding images from the WYSIWYG, projects now have the ability to implement pre-set image sizes. You could use this to create image options such as 'Small size', in addition to the standard 'Best fit', and 'Original size', allowing for a more flexible page layout. This configuration is documented for Developers here.

Link to Github issue: #961

Managing information for an image

Update: 15 November 2019

When editing an image’s details, there can be a lot to include. We've updated the order of the fields to prioritise the image placement details before additional information.

Link to Github issue: #991

Download a file from the CMS

Update: 15 November 2019

Previously, finding the download link for files in the CMS wasn’t particularly easy. Now, the actions menu for individual files includes a download link for quick access to share the link or download the file directly.

Link to Github issue: #947

Adding content blocks between existing ones

Update: 22 October 2019

Heavy users of content blocks will appreciate a subtle new feature, allowing you to add blocks inline of existing ones.

Link to Github issue: #704

Speeding up the file manager

Update: 22 October 2019

The Silverstripe CMS file manager has an important feature, alerting users trying to delete files that are in use. We’ve improved this feature to ensure much faster response times.

Link to Github issue: #931

Adding anchor links to a page

Update: 16 October 2019

Anchor links have been a feature sorely missed in Silverstripe CMS 4. It's taken some time, but we're very happy to share that creating anchors is now available as default behaviour.

Link to Github issue: #2268

Adjusting the order of actions in the block options dropdown

Update: 16 October 2019

Some issues may seem relatively minor when they stand alone, but the experience debt initiative is about creating a better overall CMS user experience. Previously, the options presented for content blocks were not in priority order, which we’ve now resolved.

Link to Github issue: #707

Removing broken radio tick icon from selected item in Files UI

Update: 16 October 2019

We’ve removed a broken radio tick icon. Another relatively minor issue, but one that likely perturbed users with an acute attention to detail.

Link to Github issue: #834

SiteTree colours are more accessible

Update: 16 October 2019

To improve CMS accessibility and in line with Web Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, we’ve slightly adjusted the background colour of the CMS user interface and colours in the site tree.

Link to Github issue: #2360

Preventing the accidental deletion of your homepage

Update: 8 October 2019

Your homepage is like the front door to your house. If it disappears, entering the house (or your website) becomes problematic. We’ve added extra measures to reduce the likelihood of accidentally deleting or moving your homepage, or changing its URL.

Link to Github issue: #2154

When archiving a block, it needs to be unpublished first

Update: 8 October 2019

When archiving content on your website, you expect the content to be unpublished first. This was an existing flow when archiving pages in Silverstripe CMS, and now it also applies to content blocks.

Link to Github issue: #678

Have you got feedback on Silverstripe CMS?

If you’ve got feedback on Silverstripe CMS, we’d love to hear from you. Head to our feedback form and tell us about your experience.

CMS Feedback

About the author
Bryn Whyman

Bryn is one of SilverStripe's Product Owners. He's here to make sure our users are given a megaphone to have their ideas heard and ensure our products allow them to excel and enrich their communities.

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