Feature Spotlight: Versioning
Feature Spotlight: Versioningby Michael Boese
Web pages resemble a store window in a pedestrian zone: They need to attract attention, always show something new and showcase current products on offer. For website owners, constant adaptation is a challenge. But what if you could edit different versions or simply restore old content? Our new feature makes that happen.
The best website is one where some action is happening. There is nothing worse than an old web business card that has looked the same for years and always has the same boring content. By injecting life and actively engaging visitors, a modern website becomes a "living" document that is constantly changing – new text, new visuals, new features, current deals, etc.
The more often and more extensively a website is updated, the more difficult it is for the webmaster to keep track of it all, to archive old content that is needed later, or to undo unintentional changes. CM4all sites now presents a strong new feature – called versioning – to solve this problem.
Different versions of the same website? No problem!
With versioning it will be possible to manage up to ten different versions of a website without losing control. For example, a hotel can have a winter version of its website with pictures of snow and winter sports information online while working on the summer version, which focuses on flowering meadows and tips on the most beautiful hiking trails. A campaign version with special offers only shown during certain times is also possible, e.g., while running an advertising campaign or during a sporting event such as the World Cup.
Switching between the different versions of the website will no longer be a problem. Users can activate a saved version with a single click. Each version always consists of the layout template, the page structure and fixed contents such as texts and pictures. Dynamic content such as guestbook entries or online shop configurations never get lost and are always up to date – no matter which version is currently online.
Support will love it
Versioning is also beneficial for service agents who process websites for customers in the "Build it for me" operating model. The agent can simply save various layout suggestions for the end customer as versions and make these available to the customer to select from. At the same time, version management makes support much easier: Backup versions are automatically created before a web page is published. In this way, a user who deletes content in the editor by mistake or simply wants it to look the same again can always switch back to the current live version.
Focus: user experience
This feature has been developed based on Google's Material Design language for the best possible user experience. The minimalistic, card-based interface makes it easy to use and enables users to quickly discover the benefits of version management. Instead of long lists in which a specific version must first be identified, each saved version is displayed on a separate card in CM4all Sites – including a screenshot and a brief description. This also makes it much easier to compare the different versions.
While editing different versions, “snackbars” – brief information overlays – inform the user directly about what's going on. This makes it immediately clear whether a process has worked, i.e., whether a version has been restored, the storage process has been completed, or the new website is now online after publishing.
Optimized for smartphones
And for those who like to work on their websites on the phone, this feature is, of course, responsive and optimized for editing on a smartphone. All versions can be adapted while on the go, or old content can be restored quickly.
Conclusion: Versioning is a powerful tool that provides real value for website editing. After numerous usability tests and initial trials, our first partners to try this feature agreed! Try versioning and you will never want to be without it.