How Joomla! helps me take my clients' user experience to the next level - Jonathan Magoga
There's more to a website project than installing, templating, and populating a CMS like Joomla!
One of the most important aspects to be respected is UX (User Experience). This is an emerging humanities science that fascinates Jonathan Magoga, so much so that he has made it his specialty, with a strong focus on UX Strategy.
To achieve this holistic user experience, he uses Joomla! as the CMS of choice, since, in his words, "Joomla! strikes the right balance between amazing flexibility and ease of use".
Let's hear him explain his job and his relationship with Joomla!
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I am curious. Heavily so. I love to learn all things useful, and some trivial stuff too.
But above all, I believe that everyone has the potential to contribute, to think critically, and to be considerate to each other.
I love arts, primarily music, dance, and visual arts of varied shapes and volumes and I love to solve puzzles, most of them centered around the human.
What about your career ?
I started with computers very, very early in life, and experienced the web at its foundation (BBS). Shortly after the web became affordable in my country, I got hooked into it, and started building websites.
I veered towards Flash, from my love for visual arts, and built several unique websites for musicians, visual artists, a potter, and an illusionist! Flash didn’t grow with the needs of the internet, so I moved towards CMS platforms, starting with Xoops, but shortly after discovering Joomla.
From there, I co-founded a small web design and development studio, a pioneer in remote work at the time, as we never had a physical office and had people all over the world.
With that flexibility, and demonstrated reliability, we attracted a pair of fortune 100 companies to the fold, and things kept evolving after that.
How did you get into website creation?
Honestly? I have no idea. It just happened. It simply felt like a natural evolution of my engagement with the web.
At some point I wanted a website, so I learned what I needed to and built it. Shortly after, someone I knew needed one as well.
What made you choose Joomla?
Believe me, it's easy to use. Of course, I love learning, but beyond that, I quickly understood the logic of Joomla, and once you understand that, it gets easier.
Another thing is its flexibility, which is unrivalled.
Can you describe the process of creating your first Joomla project?
My first project was in J1.5, and I have no memory of that. Which is for the good, I think.
My first Joomla 2.5 project was for a renowned Aikido sensei.
My process is generally different from most people, as I focus a lot on feeling. I wrap it all in a professional UX workflow and interaction with the client, of course, but wants and needs come from feelings, sometimes even in a corporate setting.
So I start with casual conversations, then brainstorming sessions, a thorough mapping (journey, business, infra), and establish the goals of the project. From there, it becomes pretty much like a regular UX/dev workflow, though with periodic returns to conversations and feel mapping.
What challenges did you face?
Communication, clients who “just want a website”, clients that know exactly what they want, but actually know nothing at all, not to mention all the challenges of growing a business as a co-founder and director, getting up to speed in marketing, sales, HR, and on and on. Joomla itself was actually never a problem for me.
How did you solve them?
Grit, love for learning, love for the human behind the client, and above all, patience. Lots and lots of patience. Did I mention love for learning?
I understand you are a Web designer, specialized in UX and UI, do you think Joomla is the best choice?
I am now a product designer, focused more on the design and development of products, platforms, etc., and solving complex products and interactions.
However, most of the times an app/service can either be based on a website or connected to it and in 100% of the cases, the product needs a website or more.
Joomla is the best choice because it’s flexible, reliable, secure, and with some patience and attention, even the client can find it easy to use and to be clear, ease of use goes beyond “less clicks” and being intuitive.
In Joomla, most things you need to do, you can: with our main CMS competitor, for example, you are likely to need yet another plugin or five, or quite likely the involvement of a dev : Good luck with that!
So yes, in my professional opinion, Joomla is the easiest to use CMS out there.
You are in the Joomla community for a long time, how deep is/was your involvement?
I was the Lead UX designer for the JUX back in 2017. Before that, I was not really engaged, and was mostly just observing.
But during my time, I was quite involved, having frequent interactions with the production leadership and the UX team — honorable mention to Michael Babker, who is the nicest and most knowledgeable dev I have ever met — as well as with Niels Braczek at the Joomla X team. However, at that time, the dev-oriented Joomla leadership was not yet ready for accommodating design leadership and guidance, and the JUX ended up being dissolved.
Now Joomla has a designer as president, so naturally I’m back to try again.
If there was one sentence to sum up your relationship with Joomla / Joomlers, what would it be?
I am grateful that Joomla exists, and grateful to all the people who contributed to it.