Finding Our Design Direction

9 June 2015

When Barley launched, its big selling point and main differentiator was the (then new) inline editing experience. We imagined how much easier websites could be updated, by both novices and power users alike, when you could simply tap on the live content and edit it directly. We believed then that this ability is extremely empowering, allowing people to easily publish content on their website without learning complicated systems or workflows.

The goal quickly became to remove the administrative panel from content management completely, not just during the editing experience. This, of course, created a unique set of challenges because administrative tasks such as account settings still need to be accessible. New pages need to be added. Users need to log out. We solved these issues, but sticking to our mantra of “no admin.” 

Moving forward, our goal is simplification. 

Once, we thought that meant physically removing elements. But, when removing pieces, we added some unnecessary interactions that were both confusing and ineffective. So rather than continue to beat the “admin-less CMS” drum, we’re aiming to simplify the experience for all users, whatever that may be. What we believed about inline editing is still true—it remains our bread-and-butter, but we shouldn’t cut off our nose to spite our face. 

Instead of blindly removing pieces, we should focus on removing barriers for our users.

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