A CMS is a web application that empowers a business the ability to quickly update, edit, publish or create web pages when business needs dictate. One factor to determine if a system meets this requirement is how easy it is to update, edit, or create a webpage.
Can a user find the page to edit in three clicks? The three click rule according to Wikipedia, “is an unofficial web design rule concerning the design of the website navigation”. A lot of web site designers applied to this rule to the front end. The three-click rule is a best practice for the front end, and this practice should be applied to the CMS.
The content editor should have a high usability where the editor has simplicity in the available formatting functions. The icons on the editor should make sense to the average office worker with tags explaining what each icon is for. The web editor should meet the same standards as a word processor with WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) that generates clean XHTML markup. The last item for the content editor is an HTML mode for people like me who prefer to type out the HTML.
Almost every CMS includes a photo gallery now. The photo gallery function should include an automatic image resizing and thumb nail generation. The average office worker does not have the time and software installed on their workstation to resize and generate images.
Search Engine Optimization: A content management system will cover the basics of SEO. The CMS should have the ability to set the title, keywords and description on each separate page. The CMS should generate clean XHTML pages and site maps for the search engines to crawl.