I have been tasked with re-creating a small-ish corporate Web site (maybe a dozen static pages and a blog section) using WordPress. I have no troubles with the actual Web design, nor with the PHP itself. However, i am struggling to figure out how to set it up so that end users can edit the static pages with more complex layouts without HTML knowledge.
For instance, the front page of this site will use the incredibly familiar pattern of a Jumbotron/slider at the top, three little 'highlight' boxes below that, and then a few distinct sections running down the remainder of the page, probably with images floated to alternating sides. (Kind of like this.)
All of these components are actual content, so they need to be easily editable by the user. When a new version of the product comes out, they need to be able to change the headline in the Jumbotron, to describe the new features in the little highlight boxes, to update the alternating images in the sections, &c.
The methods i have considered include using either widgets or something like Advanced Custom Fields to create separate editable areas for the Jumbotron, &c., but these don't seem very robust or elegant. I have also looked into using shortcodes to create simplified wrappers around these page components, but WordPress has a thousand little bugs that screw with the contents of shortcode blocks (extraneous line breaks, stray opening and closing tags, &c.).
I have seen WordPress sites that use page structures like i've described, but i haven't been able to find any free themes/plug-ins that show how they manage it. Are the methods i mentioned above what these sites generally use, or is there some basic WordPress feature that i'm not understanding here?