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DNN Designing – guidelines to design a great CMS
12 September 2014

DNN Designing – guidelines to design a great CMS


DotNetNuke Designing has some challenges of its own. Planning for unknown content is one of the basic things to consider while designing a DNN site. Well, the site structure consists of panes and containers. Once handed over to customers, the amount of data that will go into each pane or container will vary.  Some customers might add just a few sentences and add huge images, yet some others will add lots of text. Well, there are a lot of nuances that you need to take care of while designing for DNN websites.

Here we’ll discuss some of the basic points to remember while designing for a DNN website:


Simplicity and consistency

Keeping designs simple would mean less learning for your customers and consistency in design would mean that customers get “used to” a particular pattern and hence can browse more and more easily. You can be creative and artistic, but maintain some simplicity in the design. DNN uses containers and panes to arrange content on the pages. Any container can be used all over the page. Use consistent fonts, colours and layouts.



While designing for a CMS is tricky. Keep the layout flexible. Remember that the content will be added by client later on. You never know what goes there.  Try different views of your design with different layouts. For instance, if you are creating columns, make sure that even if the content length is not same, the column looks appealing. Layouts need a little experimenting while designing for a CMS like DNN.



The owner might add too many pages or too little. Create boundaries for the user. Plan your vertical as well as horizontal navigation. Plan the menu buttons and provide enough flexibility for users to add pages and options in the menu. You can create the structure for the customers with either a mega menu and various internal navigations. Or, you can create the basic structure for customers to add the content later.


Skins and content panes

When it comes to skins and content panes, the minimum the better. 1 pane wide to 6 panes wide – that should be enough.  Typically 3 panes wide is a good idea. Well, if there is a need you can increase it.

Maintaining consistency on all pages and sub pages is the general recommendation.


Having more than 4 containers per page is like a waste of time. Too many containers will get confusing when adding content. You can use CSS to override the containers default styling. This will greatly help rapid designing and customization as per requirements.

DNN designing is great, it allows for the design concept to be reinforced while maintaining flexibility. DNN provides users with great elements for designing and creating great website


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