This Sitecore tip is about how strategists and content authors can work with developers to make Sitecore Experience Editor fields intuitive in such a way that they remove content-based errors and reduce workflow rejection.

The day to day life of a Sitecore content author is a challenging one. On one hand they have to work in tandem with what can be a fragmented set of product owners, each having their own agenda, marketing style, or even purpose. On top of this, they have to battle with the content interface; leveraging components to the maximum effect. 

Content authors need to work at pace to deliver within modern time constraints and so leveraging the Sitecore Experience Editor is a must to deliver value with efficiency and accuracy. 

It is often the case that when a component is created, very little thought is given to fields in the Sitecore Experience Editor interface. Quite often, the default, out-of-the-box field isn’t changed. Both new and default fields very rarely contain error preventing validation or leverage standard values. The upshot is a content author can then place anything (or nothing) in a field. This leads to either unnecessary whitespace or content that might not be styled or on brand.

By providing sensible default values in fields we can make authoring more intuitive. We can ensure content authors know which fields and sub-items are critical. Most importantly, we can make sure content authors easily do the "right" thing and thus prevent content-based errors. 

Examples below show the use of placeholder text/images within components. Very quickly an author can see how the page should look and what they can (and can’t) edit. Other standard values would include display settings, titles, text, etc. 

Sitecore placeholder

Sitecore placeholder image

In addition to managing how a field works, organizations have a bigger trick up your sleeve that developers can utilize to improve content authoring efficiency, and that’s to tailor the whole edit frame. Developers have the option to add or remove as many fields as you desire. The key here is to ensure the edit frame is simplified on a component basis. Focus on the field editor buttons that are needed for the relevant component/block. Don’t be afraid to restrict. It’s easier to re-add buttons then it is to take away.

You can also utilize this tip for the edit frame if you choose to edit via the content editor or via the ribbon. 

This blog post is part of a collection of posts by Dominic Hurst and Dan Murphy; Sitecore Strategists who presented a collection of these tips to the Sitecore Universe at the 2017 Symposium. 

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