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Helping the editors

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When developers create items and their fields, we want to give them names that make sense in our code. These names does not always make sense to the editors of the website.  For example, I have seen a field named "Id" without any explanation as to what id that was meant or how to obtain it.

Written by: Jimmi Lyhne Andersen
Tue, Sep 22 2009

Fortunately Sitecore provides a lot of ways to help the editors, so that it is possible for them to use the items and their fields in the intended way.




Display names for templates


As the name for a template is used in the code for the website, developers typically name them in that context. But when the editors work on the site, they see this name when they create new items. Therefore we should use display names for the templates. This allows us to let the editors see meaningful names for the items in their own language.
The display name is set on the template, not on the standard values. So go to the template, and click Display name in the Rename group of the Home tab.


Screenshot showing how to set display name for a template



I should also point out that it is very important to give each template a meaningful icon. This will give the editor a much better overview of the content tree. The icon should be set on the template and is set in the Appearance group of the Configure tab.

Screenshot showing how to choose an icon for an item

It is also possible to set an icon for the sections of a template, simply go to the section item of the template and set the icon. If you create templates with several sections of data, this will also help the editor a lot.


Screenshot showing how to set an icon for a section

Help text for items


It should be possible to add a short description, a long description and a link as help for an item. This is done by choosing the standard values of the items template. Here you should click Help in the Appearance group of the Configure tab.


Screenshot showing where to find the help texts

This will give you the following form, where you can enter the help texts and link.


Screenshot showing formular for help texts
Unfortunately I am only able to see the short description text for the item.


Screenshot showing help texts on an item



Help text for fields

The editors does not have to see the name of the field, this name is typically in English and is maybe only meaningful to developers. It could also be that editors will login to Sitecore in different languages and therefore we should translate field names into these languages.
To do that, find the fields item under the section item of the template.


Screenshot showing how to set a title for a field
Now give the field a meaningful title in all the languages that is available for the editors.


Next go to the configure tab and click Help in the Appearance group. This will open a dialog enabling you to write a short description, a long description and a link.


The short description will appear next to the field title. The long description will be a tooltip that is visible when the mouse hovers the title and short description. And now the field title is a link to the url you just indicated.


Screenshot showing help texts on a field


All this only takes a few minutes to do and will really help the editors figuring out how the site works and save them a lot of time.



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  • Picture of Jimmi Lyhne Andersen

    About the author:

    Jimmi Lyhne Andersen

    Jimmi Lyhne Andersen is the co-founder of LearnSitecore, and is a partner at Inmento Solutions.
    Jimmi has been lead developer and architect on several large public websites with 200+ editors, and is therefore focused on usability and accessibility.
    Jimmi is a certified Sitecore developer and a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD).
    He has a bachelors degree in Computer Science and in Mathematics from the University of Copenhagen.


3 responses to "Helping the editors"

Very nice blog post.

Very often, - too often, we tend to focus on the implementation and forget the low-hanging fruits of a successful solution.

In addition to the above, I think other essential configurations should be spending some time setting correct insert options (using insert options on standard values, - or insert rules).

Also, setting placeholder names and placeholder settings is very beneficial for customers who has page design features enabled.

I love this article, and would love to see additional articles in such series. Drop me a mail if you want additional ideas.

Lars Fløe Nielsen
Sitecore, VP, Technical Marketing
Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 8:24 AM
Excellent, just what I was looking for!
Posted: Thursday, November 05, 2009 1:14 PM
Thanks a Lot!
Posted: Thursday, February 04, 2010 11:20 AM

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