Two weeks ago, Magnolia has released version 5 of its long-awaited CMS, to wide industry acclaim. Let's have a quick look on what makes Magnolia 5 such an unparalleled product in todays enterprise software market.
Win the feature war, lose your users.We have worked on Magnolia 5 for years, starting with early designs back in 2008. The reason it took so long is because the market for content management keeps changing rapidly. To stay competitive, a vendor typically needs to work on features rather than on the platform or user experience. This is why typical CMS's look like they were developed in the 90's, are overcrowded with layers of options and a "death by drop-down menu" style of user interaction design, cobbled together by acquisitions of various components to build an "integrated (!?) software suite".
Independent thinking needs independenceIn order to stay sane, radical and independent thinking is essential. Luckily, Magnolia's independence (we have no external funding) and sustainable business model (we only sell license subscriptions) allows us to think long-term. And so we did, back in the summer of 2011, when we decided to completely start from scratch with our designs for Magnolia 5, and think "touch first".
The driving question behind the gorgeous Magnolia 5 user interface was "what would a CMS look like if it were designed for touch". This question lead to a very interesting shift in how we approached the interaction design of Magnolia, because just "translating" a desktop UI to touch doesn't work.