There is knowing how to do a few HTML code tweaks, and there is knowing where the control panel writers put the place to add the code. And sometimes, where it seems like it should go and where it actually goes takes you down the merry path of wasted time and frustration. The Shift4Shop dashboard is a very good example of a bad interface.
Trying to Add a Page of Testimonials to Shift4Shop
The first step is to know that, behind the scenes, your software has a core purpose. WordPress is blogging software at its core. Shift4Shop is a shopping cart at its core. The fact that WordPress doesn’t make it easy to set up a shopping style pages and the fact that Shift4Shop doesn’t make it easy to set up content pages makes sense. So, a platform has its core competency and the rest is tacked on.
You hope they did a good job of tacking on the other task you want. WordPress does a good job of tacking on the shopping cart function because they let the shopping cart specialists do it. On the other hand, Shift4Shop doesn’t make it so easy for a website owner to add on pages of content, such as testimonials.
The Problem with Adding Formatted Content
Like many other systems, Shift4Shop provides you with a tool to add pages to your site that are not part of the shopping function. An About Us is an example. You can add a title and paragraphs of text. You can bold and add images. But, when you want blocks of text that repeat a format, it’s not so easy.
To start with, you have to find where to add that page. The dark sidebar menu is somewhat intuitive: Site Content (1) is a good text link. But, once you click on content, there is a weird list on the right that doesn’t communicate well. They call it Top Menu Links. When you want to make a page, you want to make a page. The linking is what happens after the page is made.
One of the common pitfalls in creating an interface is that the people who make the interface and the people who use the interface are different. The developers are trying to guess what communicates to the user, but they are developers, so they don’t get it.
Where Does the HTML Basic Structure Go in Shift4Shop?
Their system puts the basic HTML structure, as seen above, in a different place for editing than the HTML that controls the content area. In spite of the fact that I listed the basic HTML structure, above, this is code that Shift4Shop doesn’t make available to the account owner. Every bit of HTML code that the site owner can add is code that their system will add inside the <body></body> when a page is sent to a viewer.
And, finding the places to add that code can be a maze. For the purposes of this post, we will only find where the Testimonials go.