Interesting things about ECM


WebMonkeyMagic on hyperlinks in UCM

Filed under: General, Oracle UCM, Usability, WCM — Tags: , , — Anthony Fast @ 10:13 pm


The achilles heel of Oracle UCM – hyperlinks

UCM is a great document management system but its websites are sure awkward. The most obvious blunder was the editor so thank god that’s been fixed! This leaves us with the biggest weakness in the system – hyperlinks.

Let’s look at exhibit A – the Hyperlink Wizard. The new UCM spots a brand new fully AJAX interface for creating links. There’s an amazing amount of code and effort put into it – just to make it work exactly like the old one! Fair dinkim guys, it took a pHD* to understand the old one so why replicate its horrible functionality? Did you expect your users to be so fully engrossed in the old way that they would be incapable of doing it any more simply? Why did you waste your time reinventing the wheel when it is just as square as the old one? I wonder if they have ever tried to create a link…

The first thing it does is ask “do you want to link to a section, file or URL?” What? Why do I have to choose? What’s the difference? I want to link to another web page… who knows? Click on file. “Do you want the current item, existing file from server, upload a file, new file, or new word doc?” Hmmm, I’m editing this link so I don’t want the current item (duh). Why would I create a word doc? I’m trying to make a link to a web page! I guess I’ll have to choose existing, good thing I already know the content id. Once the initial search results finally load, i have to search again using my content id. Ok, I have selected my content item. Now it asks “use default web section metadata, choose a section or just link to URL?” Do i care? What does a section mean anyway? I think i want a URL but I know my page is already used in website x, so I’ll drill down into that website until i find a “section” that sounds like my page. Click click click click click. Click next and it displays some ugly code and calls it my “link URL” (i thought i chose a section!) asking to me confirm. Hmm that looks nothing like the link i expected to see. Click finish and hope for the best.

Wow, what a pointlessly verbose experience (and i even removed a step!) Steve Krug says, “DON’T MAKE ME THINK!” so my contributors skip all that by simply pasting the published URL into the first “URL” field. The system however does not recognise published URLs, decides there are no links to that page, and deletes it from the published site. D’oh!

And take a look at the URLs it publishes. Every one ends in some seemingly random number! Why? Because the system must give every page a unique id. C’mon guys, most free CMS software generates human-sounding URLs even before Web2.0 happened. Is it really that hard?

And so ends another rant. Hopefully my next post will be about a replacement Hyperlink Wizard that I have written for you to download and enjoy.

* I work at a uni, my contributors are academics and they screw up the links all the time.

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