Tridion Content Analysis: Part 5, The Answer

  1. The Trivial Example and Question
  2. Context
  3. Inventory
  4. Process
  5. The Answer
Quick, how many schemas and templates do you see?





Okay, let's solve this riddle.

We need context, let's take a quick inventory to get the who, what, where, when, how, and why. You can't get the following details from screenshots, so let's imagine the following table came from other documentation and workshops.

Content Type
Field or asset
Example
Author(s) and Layout
Also used in
Managed?
Priority / Frequency
Product Teaser Flipped
Image, positioned on the right
Picture of CD
Nivlong
Product Details, maybe
Yes, in Custom CMS
High /
infrequent
updates
Product Teaser Flipped
Product name
“Create and Break, The Companion CD”
Nivlong
None
Yes, in Custom CMS
High /
monthly
Product Teaser Flipped
Short description
"The companion CD for the blog about…"
Nivlong
none
Yes, in Custom CMS
Medium /
rarely
updated
after
creation
Product Teaser Flipped
Price
$0.01
Automatic
Product Details
From external feed
Low /
quarterly
automatic
Product Teaser Flipped
Read more link, positioned on the right
Templated
From template
High /
monthly
Product Teaser Flipped
Product name
“Create and Break, The Book”
Nivlong
Product Teaser, Product Details
Yes, in Custom CMS
High /
annual /
updated
with new
products
Product Social Media
Social media quote
“This rocks!”
Automatic
none
No, user generated comment
Medium /
hourly
automatic
Product Social Media
(Reduced) Price
$0.00
Nivlong
none
Overrides external feed
Low /
quarterly
automatic

First pass answer: Same fields, but different placement suggests the classic single schema with multiple-template approach.

Think again: But if we recognize authors should control the social media quote's page placement but its actual content is external to the CMS, we could go with two templates for a Product schema and a separate "social media" schema with its own template. 
Though you can decipher a logical lower limit on the number of schemas and templates from screenshots and wireframes, this makes too many assumptions about content authors, template logic, where text and media come from, re-use, and business importance. Except for trivial examples, you can not create a useful content model without getting context.

Content Type
Field or asset
Schema
Template logic
Product Teaser Flipped
Image, positioned on the right
Product
Template controls placement
Product Teaser Flipped
Product name
Product
Template controls placement
Product Teaser Flipped
Short description
Product
Template controls placement
Product Teaser Flipped
Price
n/a
Template places code to make 3rd party service call on front end
Product Teaser Flipped
Read more link, positioned on the right
Product
Template creates the link
Product Social Media
Product name
Social Quote
Template controls placement
Product Social Media
Social media quote
Social Quote
Template places code to make 3rd party service call on front end
Product Social Media
(Reduced) Price
n/a

Template places code to make 3rd party service call on front end

Campaigns Really Differ from Articles

This works with a few templates, but what if you need ultimate flexibility and the ability to control the layout of the same content differently, across different sites and channels?

Content types meant to solicit user action have several things in common. For example,

  • They may be called promotions, point of views, or campaigns
  • They typically include a header, subheading, description, some images, and one or more "call to action" (CTA) links
  • The images in such campaigns don't always appear on the same product or service page (two templates, each displaying a thumbnail or a full image doesn't work)
  • They're often seasonal or time-sensitive, possibly connected to a sale
  • The design needs vary, with special styling, colors, placement needed for each (they're almost pages in several ways)
  • They're often candidates for A/B testing, profiling and personalization (relevance engines such as SDL SmartTarget, Unica, or your vendor-of-choice)
  • They're critical to the web and other digital channels
  • Authors that have seen Experience Manager (SiteEdit) want to click and drag these around a page, which complicates your wish to implement them with "containers" or with linked list components.

Considering this context, consider a dynamic approach—your developers or designers create “views” or “renderers” in their front-end presentation site, rather than in Tridion templates.

On the other hand, if this placement is critical to your business and must be author-controlled, offer configuration (drop-downs for placement) at the cost of more schema fields. Also know that unless motivated to do otherwise, authors will stick with default options and may get frustrated by unnecessary fields. Flexibility has a cost and choice can be taxing--offer good defaults whenever you can.

For marketing campaigns, the options to create many renderings include:
  • Author-controlled configuration (more schema fields)
  • Template-controlled (needs setup but may burden authors that have to select from too many Tridion templates)
  • Presentation-side layout (renderers or views)
  • Presentation-side layout managed in the CMS (container or "component presentation components")
I'm debating if it's practical to treat what seem to be component presentations as pages, but I'd need to see this in action first.
There you go, five posts that take us from the trivial two-template Tridion article example to the more nuanced campaign setup. Regardless if you have a trivial article setup or the cutting edge in not-quite-managed content, use context and some type of content inventory as part of your content / design separation process.

1 comment :

  1. Why is it so hard for bots to get plural agreement right? I know I'm bad, but come on.

    Or is it intentional, hmmm...

    ReplyDelete

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