MediasurfacePepperio 4.3 review

Price when reviewed

Any company that wants to have a web presence faces a dilemma. They can either design and set up the website themselves using an in-house server or a web-hosting service to actually run it, or they can outsource the whole thing to a third party. The first course leads to acquiring and retaining technical staff whose skills set may not be directly applicable to the business’s core functions, while the second may lead to a lack of editorial control and slow response times when changes are needed. Either course can be expensive. Pepperio provides a business with the tools to change its website’s appearance and content in-house, while outsourcing the technical design and maintenance to a third party.

Pepperio is only available through approved third parties, called design partners, which take care of the design and construction of the website, and provide ongoing maintenance. However, editorial control of the website’s content remains with the end user, who can make changes without needing to use the design partner’s expertise. This allows the company to make changes quickly in response to changing conditions, and helps to ensure the people who should be responsible for the changes have the tools to carry them out directly.

The tools, which run in a web browser, are simple to use, although some training is provided as part of the initial website setup process. Both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox are supported. Content can be rewritten and replaced in minutes, new pictures can be uploaded, and new pages can be added without needing to resort to the arcane technicalities of XHTML and Cascading Style Sheets, while the software rebuilds the site structure behind the scenes. We added a complete new section to the website in minutes, without writing a single HTML tag, although the tools do allow you to resort to raw HTML coding if you want. In practice, most users will achieve their aims by using the simple wysiwyg editors and the other tools provided.

A Pepperio website is based around pages, templates and assets, all controlled from the Pepperio interface. Pages may contain text and assets, while the templates are used to control the appearance of the pages. The tools offer highly detailed control of all aspects of a template’s design, down to the ability to edit CSS and XHTML code snippets. Although this level of control can be useful on occasions, few users will need access to it, and the software provides the ability to restrict this by assigning access levels to users and groups of users. Typical user groups would include editors and reviewers, who work together to ensure the quality of the final product, and super users, who can make changes to any aspect of the website, including content, appearance and organisation.

The quoted prices are the cost of the Pepperio system to the design partner. The costs to the end user company will vary according to the amount of work the design partner does in setting up the site and will be greater, but should still compare favourably with those where everything is outsourced to another company.

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