A recent post on WP Candy posed the question "Does WordPress Scare Your Clients?" It is absolutely true that to some degree, new users will not be comfortable with the WordPress administrative dashboard and will not know how to do even the simplest tasks such as adding a new post. But being scared and not knowing how are two different things. Overall, I would say that most folks aren’t scared of WordPress or using the web. In fact they’re very eager to learn how. But just like any other new web application or piece of software, WordPress does have a leaning curve for folks. As Michelle Sullivan commented on the WP Candy Post
This is not a problem unique to WordPress
Some training to help users move along that learning curve must always be provided. Without training, the solution is incomplete.
It doesn’t matter if you deploying WordPress for your client or you are building an internal only web application or deploying a simple web site for your client. Some degree of training is always going to be involved so make sure you account for that in project resources, schedules, and costs. If you think you can get away with building that new site and not doing any training, you’re wrong. I’ve been building sites of various shapes and sizes for over 10 years and every single one of them involves training at least one person, sometimes hundreds, even thousands.
The clients that I enjoy working with the most are those that are not super tech savvy, but they are interested in using the web as a medium to communicate their message, share their knowledge, or simply tell a story. To them, the web is a new place they don’t know a ton about, but they are not afraid to learn. Over the years, I’ve met few people unwilling to figure out how the web works and how they can start using it. The challenge then becomes, how to people best learn?
Holly and I both have plenty of stories helping folks learn WordPress. Sometimes it goes well. Sometimes, not so much. We’ve used the Codex. We’ve purchased WordPress for Dummies for our clients. Those are both excellent resources. On the web or in print, you would be challenged to find a more comprehensive learning resource regarding WordPress. But there’s no replacement for actually seeing how things get done, so we thought a set of well organized training screencasts would help address getting our clients moving along that learning curve. This is why we launched a new site a couple weeks ago – wpscreencasts.com. As we wrote in our post announcing the site, we did this to assist our efforts in providing training for the clients we deploy WordPress based sites for as well as provide a video resource that complements existing resources like the Codex.
We may never completely eliminate the calls from our clients asking for simple updates, but we should provide professional solutions. And a complete professional solution involves training.