Media Manager is by far one of the cooler products that SDL could offer. It appeals to my inner geek. It offers rich asset management over a content distribution network and it does codec conversion. It’s an HTML5 developer’s dream. I don’t claim nearly the experience around Media Manager that I would Tridion, but I have learned a few things about it…
1 The Navigation Has Verbs, but You Should Think of Nouns
Putting imperative verbs in a navigation isn’t exactly standard, but maybe that’s just my inner grammar nerd. You just have to pair the right verb to the correct noun:
- You Manage assets
- You Assemble programs
- You Distribute distributions
2 Watch for the Double Page Refresh
When you navigate from Manage to Assemble, especially in Google Chrome, the page will appear to refresh twice. When it does that, it’ll change accounts. Make sure to change the account back to whichever one you wanted.
3 Pay Close Attention in That First Upload Window
You really, really should go slowly when you’re uploading. Watch for these things in the first upload window:
- There is no Back button in the upload interface
- The Close button is in the bottom right corner
- The Next button looks similar to the folder drop-down
4 When Uploading, Don’t Assume Videos are Files
I had a client stumble upon this issue. She had selected File instead of Video as she was uploading. Her thinking was pretty simple, “Videos are files, aren’t they?” So, she’d selected File, and couldn’t figure out why she couldn’t find her videos in her file system. A few points here:
- Know the file type first; Media Manager will not change the type base on your file
- You’ll notice that the window shows you check boxes, they don’t behave like checkboxes
- You’ll notice that there is no Next button (or Back button)
- You will advance to the next screen when you click on a file
- You can’t select multiple file types; ignore the language at the top and the appearance of checkboxes
- You don’t get a confirmation in the next window of which file type you’ve selected
5 Create Your Tags Before You Upload the Video
You can’t add tags from the Upload interface. Create your tags before you start with the upload task. When I was helping a client add her first video to Media Manager, we ended up tag-teaming (pun intended); I would add the tags as she was going through the upload steps.
6 Tags are in the System Section
When you’re ready to add your tag, you need to go to the System section to do so. SDL considers the tags to be a core part of the Media Manager application; they’re not something you should think of as being related to the content in anyway. (Comparing Tags to the Categories in Tridion is a false association).
7 Review All the Properties Carefully
You can change most of the properties after the fact, but you need some data to start with. You need to have all of the required fields filled out and your tags properly created. A few things here:
- Required fields are not marked by default; click Next to find out what’s required
- Tags are required, but you can not make them here
- You should probably click on Available for web publishing at the very bottom
- The Close button is right below the Next button in the bottom right; watch your trigger finger
- If you don’t see the right Tags, it’s because you selected the wrong folder at the first window; close the window and start over
8 Remember to Click the ‘Upload Files’ Button
When you get to the upload screen, look at all three buttons. First you need to add a file, and then you need to upload it. Files will not get uploaded until you click the Upload Files button. It’s the one that’s right underneath the other two buttons that also have the word “Files” in the name.
9 Be Quick with Your Work
Unlike with Tridion which will never let you out of a session, Media Manager has limits. Your session can become invalid, and log you out —even while you’re uploading a video.
Summarizing the Upload UI
I love what Media Manager does, but I’m not a fan of how it does it. As a Tridion geek, I’m willing to ignore the inconsistencies between the the two UIs. As a fan of usability, I can’t help myself:
- The most important task in media manager occurs in a modal window (so it’s the easiest to accidentally close)
- The Close button is in the wrong place (Neither Windows, Mac, nor any other modal, puts close buttons at the bottom)
- No navigation buttons (Previous or Next)
- No confirmation pages —not normally a big deal, except in interfaces where you can’t go back
- Buttons that advance you to the next step aren’t styled differently or positioned consistently
- No option to add or edit tags, even though it’s a required field
- Tags only seem to be relevant for search; no visible reason for the field to be required
- The File Type step isn’t before, or after, the Upload step
- The Upload step comes last
- session time-outs while uploading aren’t cool
I see lots of room for improvement in the user interface. But in the mean time, stick to my pointers and you’ll get your video up there before the session ends.