Designing for a CMS can be very restricting after the freedom of designing for the web. You have to understand the CMS thoroughly before attempting to do so. Basically, what you are going to do is making a design template which can be used over and over on your website or client’s website.
By making a template people can use the design same setup to repeat entries time and again. In other words, you are setting it up so when they want to post a blog, they will open their page and type in the update they want to do, and it will automatically appear in the right place. People want to write their own items so that they don’t have to continually call in a designer to put up their update so it has to be user friendly and continue to function.
Different CMS give you a different amount of control that you have as to how the template will eventually end up. You have to take into consideration how much freedom your client is going to have to make alterations to the design. I did a design for a client for an ordinary website once and had to reload it twenty times as they kept fiddling with it and messing things up. This is one of the biggest problems with a client who really doesn’t know what they are doing and love to fiddle. It can be a major headache.
Dependent on whether the CMS you are using allows alteration to HTML to be done is how you will set about setting up your design and what stops you will put in.
The first thing to remember is never assume anything. Assuming something will always backfire on you. Make your pages fool proof. You need to make it so that photos and blogs can be inserted, and old blogs will be archived in categories with a relevant name and will be retrievable by a search. This is what the basic function should be. Should there be other items, they could well change the setup of your design and also not be browser compatible.
Menu should be there and waiting merely for a name and with the ability to add more pages but automatically inserting in the archives and the template hierarchy.
Make sure you set such items as the size of a photo can be to be uploaded so that it doesn’t distort the design. One can set a few sizes and also things like where it can be inserted left, center or right.
Set items like text headings and sub headings as well as the size of text to be used in articles. Limit the number of texts that can be used and preferably group them in kinds that make the typography good without being dictatorial.
If you are going to use grids make sure there are enough boxes for each item so that it doesn’t veer the design out of shape by using headings that are three lines long on one side and one on the other. All these items have to be taken into consideration when working out the final template.