Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

How context is getting all the more important

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Recently, in one of the blog posts, Kashyap @realstorygroup quoted: ”

Content may be king but Context will be emperor

” and its truely the case with the changing nature of how we access information. Typically, there are three ways in which a user arraive at a site:

  • Through direct URL
  • Search engine
  • Through reference or link from other Site

And context is different for all the scenario’s, especially with the tabletization of the world. It has made every pixel of screen count to present information which the user is looking for. Lets look at the above three scenarios:

Direct URL – Users expectation is that site needs to present personalised content based on their previous behaviour and/or user clicks to present most relevant information. People are always saying: “Present me what I am looking for else I will go and find it else where.” This has driven lot of companies to adopt through anonymous user journeys and present a level of personalised content.

Search engine – This is becoming critically important, as search engines is the main traffic generator for a normal site. Search engine context is the the most important one but has not been explored to the fully. Assume that someone is searching a phrase ‘Fatwire Oracle’ and the site get listed in top ten search results. Now from the query, its not obvious what the user is looking for and so search engine will present a link to the site. When the user clicks on the sits URL, it goes the the specific page ln the site. While the information might be relevant, it is quite possible that it is not relevant for him. But if the user is presented with all the other relevant links around Fatwire Oracle, it is possible that user gets deeper into the site and becomes as regular visitor.

Through reference or link from other Site – This pretty much falls in the same bucket as search engine and the above information holds good.

To add another dimension to the context, mobilization and tabletisation present more challenges to maintain websites and present context based information. So, if the user comes to the site from search, the information presented on a mobile phone needs to vary with what is presented on the website, though they need to be context aware.

With the internet world moving towards tabletisation and mobilisation, its time to re-think before starting any project. How it is going to fit on all the possible context the site falls.

Scarce Skills responsibility: Service Providers or Vendors or both?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Recently there was post from Irina Guseva from Real Story Group around CQ5 WCM development skills are hot — and scarce.

This is not the case just with CQ but with an niche product. I have worked in Fatwire during its Open Market and Divine days in India and it was soo tough to get a single resource with any Fatwire experience. There was a time that in IT driven country like India, I was in touch with all the people with Fatwire skill which is not usual. :).

So why are these skills scare? And how does that impact products like CQ, Fatwire and others?

From IT service providers view, they build such niche skills in a reactive mode i.e. once they get a project they start engaging with product vendor for trainings and do not really invest pro-actively till they see a big pipeline of projects in same product. And there are cases where people work on one project to acquire such niche skills but than are moved to completely different project and the acquired skill gets lost. So, is IT service industry responsible for building such skills pro-actively and make these skills more readily available?

Service providers could really differentiate themselves from others by specializing in such niche skills but it could very well add a risk for such providers and more balanaced approach needs to be taken based on service providers position.

I think apart from IT service industries, product vendors as well need to focus on developing skills but working with IT service industries and/or clients. From the product vendor point of view, they should pro-actively provide trail versions (downloadable or cloud), free training, service providers specific seminars and try to partner with a number of service providers. This will not only help in building skills required for their product implementation but will also drive their product forward. In most of the cases, vendors focus more towards client needs than a providers which is helping client to achieve the goal. I think product vendors should focus towards service providers equaliy as they could be reliable networking partners to promote product through various seminars, part of RFI/ RFP response etc.

I was in one of the conference couple of weeks back which had a mix of people from vendors to implementors to clients. It was really amazing to hear from vendors that because they are not close to service providers, they do not have a view of what all diffent case studies a product can be implemented. And some of the cases fall well outside their own imagination of using the product.

Hiding sites from Seach Result

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Recently, google released another way to help you personalize the results, by blocking the sites you don’t want to see. This is another angle Google introduced around CEM (Customer Experience Management) giving more control on the hands of end user.

Here is an extract from Google’s blog:

You’ve probably had the experience where you’ve clicked a result and it wasn’t quite what you were looking for. Many times you’ll head right back to Google. Perhaps the result just wasn’t quite right, but sometimes you may dislike the site in general, whether it’s offensive, pornographic or of generally low quality. For times like these, you’ll start seeing a new option to block particular domains from your future search results. Now when you click a result and then return to Google, you’ll find a new link next to “Cached” that reads “Block all example.com results.”

Hide sites to find more of what you want

Hide sites to find more of what you want

This feature makes your quality of content all the more important because once the user has blocked site in search results it will be tough to get the users back. On the face of it the feature sounds pretty exciting but it will limit the users of quailty content and management of block sites will later, if not sooner, will become a burden and tools around managing the same.

IE6 Countdown: Right time for Browser Standards

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Its good to see world is ready to move on from Internet Explorer 6. Here is a snippet from IE6 count down site:

10 years ago a browser was born. Its name was Internet Explorer 6.
Now that we’re in 2011, in an era of modern web standards, it’s time to say goodbye.

This website is dedicated to watching Internet Explorer 6 usage drop to less than 1% worldwide, so more websites can choose to drop support for Internet Explorer 6, saving hours of work for web

Internet Explorer 6 usage around the world

Internet Explorer 6 usage around the world

As per my previous post Write Once, use everywhere? Content Vs Code, I think it’s perfect timing to get some standards defined around web browsers.

For corporates, its time to move on and this move is definitely going to give great boost on Intranet front, presenting more opportunities and opening new doors.

Write Once, use everywhere? Content Vs Code

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

One of the thumb rule for any CMS system is:

Have just one instance of the content and define templates/components/modules/elements to render it differently

So, Why the same rule doesn’t apply for code written to define styles, javascript functionality across browsers?

Let me take an example from one of my recent project: As per requirements, we need to support IE (6,7,8), Forefox (3.x), Safari (3.x), Opera (9.x). The HTML mock-ups are generated by one of the creative agency who are in the market for good number of years and know their stuff. SO, just analysing the HTML mock-up, total HTML/CSS/JS size is around 1.9 MB (exclding images). Out of which the CSS/JS specifically for handling cross borwser issues is 0.06 MB which roughly forms 3.5% of the total code set. And such
percentage of cross browser hacking code is present on most of the website.

Below are some of the issues from different perspectives:

Development Perspective

  • Analyse browsers which the site needs to support for previous web analytics or such tools
  • Define graphics which could work across browsers
  • Develop mock-ups with this extra code to hack site working across browsers
  • Testing effort across browsers. Most of the times the UAT error log will have such issues in good percentages
  • More development effort, hence more cost to the project

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Which CMS is best suited for my requirements?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

This is one of the common question across various discussion forums, Groups websites:
Which CMS is best suited for my requirements? Along with/without few bulleted points around requirement

To me questions like these doesn’t really make sense and I will come to my theory behind it. So how you will react if you see such a query in forums? Answer them based on your experience or just ignore them?

Here is snippet from one such question on a popular site (question modified):

Question: Corporate website: Which Web Content Management System is best suited?

Here are some responses:

DRUPAL…in caps..bold..italics whatever, have worked on both Joomla and Drupal, found Drupal to be more interactive and powerful..

Another Response

Have a look on Liferay Portal and CMS server

And another

My company works with Plone and it is mature, entreprise grade, has a large feature set, is highly flexible ….

And another

I can only recommend Sitecore. It is by far the best CMS product on the market.

and

.. evaluating top 6 products from the Gartner list – Sitecore is the way to proceed.

and

ocPortal is open source, comes without any licencing costs, is built to meet the highest accessibility standards

and so on ……….

There were around 40+ responses to this question, which is a whole lot.
Out of them, half of the responses were around promoting a product. From the remaining half, two thirds again were from people who either are part of a service company and trying to promote their services or from people who have worked on one-two products are trying to define them as the best in the industry. There were some better responses in terms of asking to define the requirements in detail before choosing a product but that percentage was very low.

So, if I have posted this question, it will definitely lead me nowhere with the problem but adding more confusion to it. The answers will always be biased based on person’s profile. So, its time to wake up and rather than getting some discussion going lets try to aim for quality discussions generating quality social content.

Confused

Confused

confused

confused


What are your thoughts?

WCM Space: Where are we?

Friday, February 25th, 2011

The CMS space, especially WCM or WEM industry, has moved rather rapidly over last few years. With the dotcom boom followed by social media explosion and bogging space expansion, we can see CMS tool in some form or shape being present behind all these changes. That means that CMS tools has undergone rapid changes from being just managing content to managing business processes to social collaboration to campaign management and with the recent addition of mobile web and customer relationsship management.

Its good to see so much development in such a short period of time but I think this rapid change has created gaps in getting the basics right. To name a few:

  • Lots of talk over internet around What is WCM or WEM? If you ask me what is WCM, I will struggle to answer that as the WCM space is changing everytime and we have lost what is the core for a WCM product.
  • Still struggling with the same issues in almost 90% of the projects even though we are moving at the speed of light. That means we are just innovating new ideas without really solving the everyday problems. There was a recent post on RealStory Group Copy-pasting from Word to hightlight the same.
  • Same information getting presented in different ways to express that we are still not solid at our base. Six Critical Ingredients for a Great Website
  • I think it is time that we get our basics right and define what is WCM? One way could be to divide the core functionalities using MoSCoW method:
    * M – MUST have this.
    * S – SHOULD have this if at all possible.
    * C – COULD have this if it does not affect anything else.
    * W – WON’T have this time but WOULD like in the future. Alternatively WANT.

    And on top of these the flashy features which are good to attract clients during presentations/demos but are not useful in everyday life.

    What are your thoughts?

Content Delivery over Mobile: Mobile Apps Vs Mobile Web?

Monday, February 21st, 2011

In the recent times there has been lots of talk around where the mobile delivery is going? Are we heading towards more and more of Mobile Apps or is native browser going to win in the end?

There is really some good information and comparison available on following sites:

Here are my two cents. I think there is no clear direction around where we are heading: Mobile Apps or Mobile web. And I do not think there is going to be one definite direction but both will continue to stay. But as organizations, I feel that there’s absolute need to evaluate the ROI when going down the Mobile Apps way. Working through various organizations in past years, I have seen cases where organization wants to have a mobile app without putting much thought behind what’s and why’s.

There are lots and lots of mobile applications available in market and from my experience most of the applications are used few times before user switches to other. So, looking at the lifecycle for a mobile application vs its investment, there is not much justification to build them as there a whole set of investment required for hosting and upgrading the application on regular basis.
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Quality Content

Friday, February 18th, 2011

There was a sudden burst of content over internet in last few years where every other person tried to host their website/ blogs and contributed content over internet. This has lead to lot of duplication of content with the quality of content going downstream.

Internet 2009 in numbers

Websites in 2009

Internet in 2009


Internet 2010 in numbers
Internet in 2010

Internet in 2010


source: http://royal.pingdom.com

Internet is all about content and everything revolves around it whether it is Search, websites etc. Over the last year or so there is more awareness in terms of content quality over quantity. In my recent assignments over an year, I have seen a trend where companies are putting lots of effort in defining the quality content, including their meta information. Some of the typical scenario’s are engaging with creative agencies/ technical copy writiers/ Content guru’s to help define the right content. This has many fold advantages including, better ranking with search engines, readers satisfaction, better bounding with readers which encourage them to return to the site and so on.

So, why not drive our blogs/ sites towards quality content as internet has lots of content and really needs quality around it.

Are we getting more predictable?

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

In recent times there is a lot of spectulation around personalized and targetted content, whether we talk about Search or websites. There is lots of data gathering which happens when we are on internet and that helps to provide the content you are interested in.
And as always Google is pretty good in this area. Recently, Google added a new dimension to this by providing Oscar Search Trends (http://oscartrends.appspot.com/) which provide in-depth summary of the search trends for the last Oscars and a way to predict the Oscar winners for this year.

From Google Blog:

“John Batelle once described search trends as “a massive database of desires, needs, wants and likes.” Looking at Insights for Search data, we were intrigued to find that this “database of intentions” shows consistent search patterns among Best Picture winners for the last three years. Each year, the winning film has shown an upward trend in search volume for at least four weeks, as well as highest regional interest from New York (The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire and No Country for Old Men).”

I can see such kind of apps getting more and more popular in the recent times to come. What the masses think?